31 Oct 2022 10:57 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned a batch of petitions challenging Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises sedition to January 2023. The matter was heard by bench comprising CJI UU Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M Trivedi. At the very outset, the Attorney General for India R. Venkataramani said that the Centre is in the process of reviewing...
The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned a batch of petitions challenging Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises sedition to January 2023. The matter was heard by bench comprising CJI UU Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M Trivedi.
At the very outset, the Attorney General for India R. Venkataramani said that the Centre is in the process of reviewing criminal laws.
"Something may happen in the next parliament session", he said.
Accordingly, he requested for additional time to be granted to the centre so that appropriate steps may be taken.
The CJI enquired if a directive had been issued by the Centre to put in abeyance all pending proceedings and prevent the filing of any fresh cases under Section 124A to prevent its usage. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta replied in an affirmative and stated that directions regarding the same were sent to all Chief Secretaries.
CJI UU Lalit narrated the order, which reads as follows–
"Learned AG submits that in terms of the directions issued by this court in its order dated 11th May 2022 the matter is still engaging the attention of the relevant authorities. He submits that additional time be granted so that appropriate steps be taken by the government. He assures the court that in view of the interim directions issued by the court, every interest and concern stands protected and as such there would be no prejudice caused. At his request, we adjourn this to second week of January 2023. It has also been brought to our notice that in some matters notice has not been issued. Let notice be issued in such matters. Counsel for Union of India, Mr. AK Sharma to file appropriate affidavit within 6 weeks."
The bench was considering a batch of writ petitions filed by Army veteran Major-General SG Vombatkere (Retired) and the Editors Guild of India, Former Union Minister Arun Shourie , TMC MP Mahua Moitra, journalist Anil Chamadia, PUCL, journalists Patricia Mukhim and Anuradha Bhasin, and Journalist Union of Assam.
On May 11, 2022, a bench led by the then Chief Justice of India NV Raman had passed a series of directions which effectively put the sedition law in abeyance.
The Court urged the Centre and the State governments to refrain from registering any FIRs under the said provision while it was under re-consideration.
"We hope and expect Centre and State Governments will refrain from registering any FIR, continuing investigation, or taking coercive steps under Section 124 A IPC when it is under reconsideration. It will be appropriate not to use this provision of law till further re-examination is over", the order stated.
The bench also directed that all pending trials, appeals and proceedings with respect to charges framed under Section124 A be kept in abeyance.
Case Title: S.G. VOMBATKERE vs UNION OF INDIA ( WPC 682/2021) EDITORS GUILD OF INDIA AND ANR. vs UNION OF INDIA AND ORS. (WPC 552/2021)
Click Here To Read/Download Order