SC To Hear Pleas Challenging Sedition Law On May 20, Centre To Submit Response By May 7


New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would hear arguments on May 10 on the legal question of whether the pleas challenging the colonial-era penal law on sedition be referred to a larger bench and granted time to the Centre to file its response. A special bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli commenced hearing arguments on a batch of pleas against the sedition law and after sometime adjourned it to next Tuesday.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, sought a few more days’ time for filing the reply, saying the draft response made by lawyers awaits approval by competent authority as the issue is of extreme importance.

Secondly, some fresh matters have been served recently and the contents of those pleas also needed a response.

List this matter on next Tuesday at 2 pm. The Solicitor General to file counter (affidavit) by Monday. No further adjournments (will be granted), the CJI said.

The bench, on April 27, had directed the Central government to file the reply saying it would commence the final hearing in the matter on May 5 and would not entertain any request for adjournment.

Concerned over the enormous misuse of the penal law on sedition, the top court in July last year had asked the Centre why it was not repealing the provision used by the British to silence people like Mahatma Gandhi to suppress the freedom movement.

Agreeing to examine the pleas filed by the Editors Guild of India and former Major-General S G Vombatkere, challenging the Constitutionality of Section 124A (sedition) in the IPC, the apex court had said its main concern was the “misuse of law” leading to rise in number of cases.

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