Sedition in India- Origins, Challenges and Reputational Costs

- by Eklavya Vasudev

Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises sedition is a contentious provision. The debates around it are manifold and range from questions to its present utility, an ambiguous definitions clause and its increasing invocation by the government in derogation of its interpretation by the Supreme Court. In a recent plea filed by the Editors Guild of India, the constitutionality of the provision has been challenged in the Supreme Court which has led to renewed debate about its current place in the Indian legal system.

This article presents a brief history of how the law of sedition came to be enacted in India, the leading cases addressing it and the current controversy around it. Finally, it emphasizes that retaining sedition in its present form in the Indian Penal Code posits certain reputational costs that might affect how India is perceived globally.

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