Amnesty booked for sedition: Supreme Court against applying law without sufficient cause

Despite demands to remove controversial clause of sedition from the statute books, it remains and is used very often to stifle dissent against the Indian government by Indians.

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi | Published: August 16, 2016 3:35 pm


Amnesty International, sedition charges, amnesty international booked for sedition, sedition law, sedition, supreme court, india news, sedition clause, latest news, india news Amnesty International India booked for sedition for raising ‘pro-freedom’ slogans. (File)

On Monday, the Bengaluru police lodged an FIR against Amnesty International India under the sedition laws. This was done after “independence” and “pro-freedom” slogans were raised at an event organised by Amnesty International.

While the organisation had been booked under various others sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 142 (being a member of an unlawful assembly), 143 (whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), it is the use of sedition that has, once again, brought back into focus the much-abused law.

Incidentally, a debate on this section, a legacy of the British, became very vocal after JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others were arrested in February for having committed the crime of sedition. Things returned to normal within days with Kanhaiya and others released on bail.

Much has been written about how the British rulers (mis)used this clause to stifle dissent and the independence movement. However, despite demands, including by the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, to remove this controversial clause from the statute books, it continues to be remain there and is used very often to stifle dissent against the Indian government by Indians.

This is despite many judgments by the Supreme Court, making it categorically clear that this section will not be invoked unless the allegedly seditious speech or act leads to violence or creates public disorder.

Watch Video: What’s making news

In its judgment in the landmark Balwant Singh and Another v State Of Punjab case (1995), the Supreme Court also took the police to task for using this section without proper application of mind.

The Bench observed, “In situations like that, over-sensitiveness sometimes is counter-productive and can result is inviting trouble,” adding, “Raising of some lonesome slogans, a couple of times by two individuals, without anything more, did not constitute any threat to the Government of India… (nor) could (it) give rise to feelings of enmity or hatred among different communities…”

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. A
    Aug 17, 2016 at 12:33 am
    Please not all Muslims. We Shia and other non Sunni are good people. Sunni are terrorists and bring bad name to Islam. Pull any jihadi and he or she is a Sunni. Pull any terrorist and he or she is a Sunni Muslim. One wonders why?
    1. M
      Aug 16, 2016 at 11:10 pm
      COWards All Brahmins Varmints and Perverts(ABVP) is known to penetrate rational groups and should anti-India slogans. I have seen many brahmins hide behind others and create ruckus. Basically they don't have guts. Their gene says "Brahmins are cowards.....Brahmins are cowards"
      1. J
        Aug 17, 2016 at 12:36 am
        Same with Christians. Only Protestant are good. Catholic Christians are rampantly molesting kids. One in two Catholic children are molested by Christian missionaries. And in Methodist and Mormon Saints churches we have multiple wives. But this is not talked about. In Latter Day Saints church we kiII people if they don't follow our Christianity.
        1. K
          Aug 16, 2016 at 2:25 pm
          Amnesty is pro Christian conversion, pro Muslim conversions and anti hindu. This is its single point agenda and it's being funded by Christian missionaries abroad. Why?? What does the US have to do with this?? The rise of a united hindu rashtra is a threat to the US. We will be a super power that none can stop. America cannot ruin its hegemony, can it? Throughout the world majority rules minorities. In India minorities rule majorities. This is because of NGOs like amnesty and "secular" Hindus, many of who air their views here.
          1. J
            Aug 16, 2016 at 4:02 pm
            Amnesty Strategy: Can we convert India into Thailand???lt;br/gt;Amnesty does not question:lt;br/gt;1. Racial killing of Blacks in USA lt;br/gt;2. Does not question Pak in;br/gt;3. Does not question Bangladesh on killing of;br/gt;4. Did not question or raise voice in Iraq;br/gt;5. Did not question rendition of USAlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;They are being funded by a bunch of CLOSET RACISTS in USA and EUROPE . As usual some of Indians are ready to sell India for money...BAN AMNESTY INDIA.
            1. Load More Comments