Updated: May 20, 2020
Under Chapter-VI of Indian Penal Code which deals with the offences against the state, section-124A deals with the sedition. Chapter-VI deals from section-120 to section-130 and section-124A (sedition) was added in the year 1870 and amended in the year 1891 and explanation was also added to it and drafted by Thomas Babington Macaulay. The offence under this section does not require an intention to incite violence, of public disorder. The essence of offence under this section consists of the intention with which the language is used.
What is sedition?
Any person attempts to bring hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffections against the Indian Government by any words, either written or spoken, or by any signs, or by any visible representation, or otherwise, shall be punished under section-124A for sedition.
1) Bringing or attempting to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffections against the Indian Government.
2) Such act or omission must be done (i) by any words, either written or spoken, or (ii) by any signs, or (iii) by any visible representation.
Government established by Law
The expression ‘Government of India established by law” includes the executive power also. And it does not mean only the framework of the constitutional body. It itself includes the state government but also the central government in it. It also describes the person or persons collectively, in succession, who is authorized to administer the government for the time being.
If the performance is dramatic
Any dramatic performance likely to excite the feelings of disaffection towards the government may be prohibited by the government and a person taking part in any such performance may be punished.
Punishment for Sedition
The punishment of sedition is non-bailable. The punishment by law for sedition is imprisonment which may extend to three years and with or without fine. If the person once imposed for sedition can’t apply for a government job, live without a passport, and must present themselves in court as and when required.
In Niharendra Dutta Majumdar, Sir Maurice Gawyer said: “The first Fundamental Duty of every government is the preservation of order, since the order is the condition precedent to all civilization and advance of human happiness. The duty has no doubt been sometimes performed in such a way as to make the remedy worse than the disease, but it does not cease to be a matter of obligation because some on whom the duty rests have performed it well. It is the answer of the state to those who for the purpose of attacking or subverting it tries to disturb its tranquillity, to create a public disturbance, or to promote disorder or who incite others to do so. Words, deeds, and writing constitute sedition if they have this intention or this tendency. Public disorder or the reasonable anticipation likelihood of public disorder is thus the gist of the offense. The acts or words complained of must either incite to disorder or must be such as to satisfy reasonable men that is their intention or tendency”.