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Panel proposal makes sedition law far more draconian, says Congress

The Congress leader also stressed that there has been a massive rise in sedition cases since 2014.

NEW DELHI: Terming the Law Commission recommendations on sedition law as ‘terrible and treacherous’, Congress on Friday attacked the BJP-led government that it is using sedition laws as a tool for silencing political dissent. Addressing media persons in the capital, Congress national spokesperson and Supreme Court lawyer Abhishek Singhvi said the Law Commission proposal makes the existing sedition law far more draconian, invasive and prejudicial by enhancing the lower end of the punishment from three to seven years.

“It ignores the spirit of the Supreme Court proceedings in May and October last year which has rendered the entire offence of sedition in the country inoperative and clearly intended it to be repealed/ rendered deal later,” he said. The Congress spokesperson pointed out that on May 11, 2022, a three-judge bench of the SC headed by the then Chief Justice of India N V Ramana had put the provision in abeyance instead of deciding on its validity.

“This was after the Central government told the court that it will re-examine and reconsider whether Section 124A needs to be retained,” he said. “On October 31, 2022, an interim order was passed by the SC putting on hold the contentious sedition law and said that the consequential registration of FIRs will continue as the SC granted additional time to the Centre to take ‘appropriate steps’ with regard to the reviewing of the colonial-era provision,” Singhvi said.

The Congress leader also stressed that there has been a massive rise in sedition cases since 2014. “There has been an annual rise of 28 per cent in sedition cases between 2014 and 2020, compared to the yearly average between 2010 and 2014. 12 sedition cases were filed during the pandemic against those who raised concerns over the issue of migrant labourers,” Singhvi said. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)