NEW DELHI: The Opposition parties were united in welcoming the Supreme Court order putting the sedition law in abeyance and called for scrapping the colonial-era provision so that no government could misuse it to silence criticism.
The Congress said the verdict had spelt it loud and clear that the voice of truth couldn’t be suppressed now and that speaking truth to power was not sedition, but “true nationalism and the true test of how committed you are to your country and to your people”.
“A clear-cut message has gone today to suppressors and subjugators of public opinion, of dissent, of everyone who criticises the autocratic and dictatorial rulers and their policy, that you can no longer suppress the voice of truth, of dissent. Those critical of government must be heard and course corrections need to be done,” said the party.
The party claimed it had promised to repeal the draconian law in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. CPM general-secretary Sitaram Yechury hailed the SC order as a “correct step in the right direction”, but added that the court should repeal the legislation because the Central government was using it to target those who are questioning it. “The Supreme Court must not wait for this government’s review and proceed to scrap the anachronistic Section 124(A) of the Indian Penal Code,” Yechury said.
Casting doubts on the intent of the government, the Left leader said, “Whenever the government doesn’t want to take a decision, it says a review is being done. Meetings take place and the issue is dragged on but there is no outcome.”
The Aam Aadmi Party also demanded that the clause be permanently removed from the statute book. Alleging that misuse of Section 124(A) had increased since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014, the party said the Centre should take the SC’s observations and directions as a “warning” that the judiciary was also unhappy with the rampant abuse of the sedition law.
Other opposition parties also lauded the decision, with TMC spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Ray tweeting that the top court had once again played a “historic role” and the Bahujan Samaj Party demanding that the illegal use of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should also be stopped.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)