New Delhi: In a significant shift in its stance on the sedition law, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Monday that it has chosen to re-examine and reconsider provisions of the sedition law, news agency ANI reported. The Centre also requested the Supreme Court not to hear the lawsuit until the subject was examined by the government.
A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli had said that it would hear arguments on May 10 on the legal question of whether the pleas challenging the colonial-era sedition law be referred to a larger bench.
Centre tells Supreme Court that it has decided to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of sedition law and requests it not to take up the sedition case till the matter is examined by the government.
— ANI (@ANI) May 9, 2022
The affidavit, filed by an official of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said that the government had decided to re-examine and re-consider the provisions of Section 124A of the IPC.
“In view of the…, it is respectfully submitted that this Hon’ble court may not invest time in examining the validity of section 124A of the IPC once again and be pleased to await the exercise of reconsideration to be undertaken by the Government of India before an appropriate forum where such reconsideration is constitutionally permitted,” the affidavit said.
In another written submission, filed on Saturday, the Centre had defended the law and the 1962 verdict of a constitution bench upholding its validity, saying they have withstood “the test of time” about six decades and the instances of its abuse would never be a justification of reconsideration.
The Centre informed the three-judge panel led by Chief Justice N V Ramana in a written submission that the judgment in Kedar Nath Singh versus State of Bihar was binding.
According to the written note filed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the Supreme Court’s Kedar Nath Singh decision, which affirmed the legality of Section 124A, was issued by a five-judge Constitution bench.
As a result, a three-judge bench cannot consider a judicial challenge to the constitutionality of the sedition statute.
This comes after the top court has been hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of Section 124A.
Defending the sedition law, the government submitted that individual instances of the abuse of provision can never be a justification to reconsider a binding judgement of the Constitution bench.
“The remedy would lie in preventing such abuse on a case-to-case basis rather than doubting a long standing settled law declared by a constitution bench since about six decades,” the written note, as quoted by Bar and Bench read.
(With ANI Inputs)