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What is Section 124-A under which one is charged with sedition?

With the last few days seeing two arrests on charges of sedition, here's a quick look at section 124-A of the IPC, under which one is charged with sedition.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 16, 2016 2:54 pm
Indian flag, National flag, Tricolour, Flag insult, insult to Indian flag, National flag insulted, Surat, Gujarat, Republic day, 26 January What constitutes sedition, under the Indian Penal Code?

JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar was on Friday arrested and charged with sedition for what the Delhi Police terms was ‘anti-national’ protest held by students in the JNU campus.

Early Tuesday morning, former Delhi University professor SAR Geelani was arrested for what the Delhi Police termed as an anti-national speech that he delivered at Press Club, Delhi.

We take a look at what the law says about sedition:

124A. Sedition — Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in 1India, 1 shall be punished with 1imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.

Explanation 1— The expression “disaffection” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.

Explanation 2— Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

Explanation 3 — Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

Classification of offence

Punishment—Imprisonment for life and fine, or imprisonment for 3 years and fine, or fine—Cognizable—Non-bailable—Triable by Court of Session—Non- compoundable.


The offence of sedition under section 124A is the doing of certain acts which would bring the Government established by law in India into hatred or contempt, or create disaffection against it; Bilal Ahmed Kaloo v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (1997) Supreme Today 127.

1. Subs. by Act 4 of 1898, s. 4, for the original s. 124A which had been ins. by Act 27 of 1870, s. 5.

2. The words “Her Majesty or” omitted by the A.O. 1950. The words “or the Crown Representative inserted after the word “Majesty” by the A.O. 1937 were omitted by the A.O. 1948.

3. The words “British India” have successively been subs. by the A.O. 1948, the A.O.1950 and Act 3 of 1951, sec.3 and sch. to read as above.

4. The words “or “British Burma” ins. by the A.O.1937 omitted by the A.O.1948.

5. Subs. by Act 26 of 1955, sec.117 and sch., for “Transportation for life or any shorter term” (w.e.f.1-1-1956).

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  1. A
    Sep 5, 2016 at 1:28 pm
    Point well made. Rahul Ji is the next obvious threat to Modi Ji... So India is scared Hitler sequel will be MAKE IN INDIA, that's why they deny. Self-denial is the best self-deprecation solution, haven't you heard?
    1. M
      Feb 16, 2016 at 9:27 am
      British Government also from the beginning trying to harm islam by all possible means. But failing again and again. Islam is progressing in briton in a fast track. 2.5 million per ten years. The muslim potion is predicted to be 26 million by the year 2051. then count the pace of progress. Modi will lose his power next election.
      1. D
        Feb 16, 2016 at 9:01 am
        It is a law enacted by British Govt against freedom fighters. Now used by BJP Govt against opponents. And they used to call Indira hi dictatorial!
        1. Jack Foobar
          May 2, 2016 at 5:56 pm
          How about you use this law against the muslims killing you, pouring acid on you, and stabbing you in the face- instead of the Christians that leave you the F alone.
          1. S
            Mar 20, 2016 at 9:03 pm
            How more useless you can be dude? You know what, you urself are the biggest threat to Muslims across the country. Your stereo type mentality would never change but stop playing this hate game of dividing religion. Stop being a toy for all silly politicians and get urself aware before you get used by these Hinduwadi or Muslim "Politicians". Grow up for once and stop acting a fake critic by silly comments. Be a brave guy to post something fruitfull. Khuda Kher kare.
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