Popular Front welcomes SC decision to put Sedition Law on hold

Popular Front of India Chairman O M A Salam has welcomed the interim order by the Supreme Court preventing the lodging of further FIRs under Sedition Law.

Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code or Sedition Law is a colonial-era relic that has been widely misused by various governments in independent India to deal with political opponents. After it became a major tool to deny constitutional rights to citizens, there is a long-standing demand for its abolition from civil rights organizations and people of conscience. It is reassuring that the apex court has finally taken cognizance of the matter and decided to keep it in abeyance till final orders. The decision is definitely a source of relief for many innocent detainees under this section as it may open doors for their release.

The interim order to withhold sedition was issued in spite of objections raised on behalf of the central government. It is welcoming that now many opposition leaders are also speaking against repressive laws. However, it should not be forgotten that many of the draconian amendments to UAPA were enacted by the erstwhile governments led by the Congress party. Since 2014, the misuse of these laws increased alarmingly under the BJP government.

Now that the Sedition Law is on hold, we should be alert against the attempts to bring it back in a disguised form. It has always been the case in the country that every time a draconian law is withdrawn after popular protests, it’s soon replaced by another one with more repressive provisions. We have seen how TADA was replaced by POTA, which in turn was brought back to life in the form of the amended UAPA. Even in the case of Sedition Law, the Solicitor General’s stance is indicative of the government’s intention in favour of prolonging the law.

Popular Front of India Chairman has appealed to the people to be cautious about possible manipulations going against the spirit of the court order. He also appealed to the apex court to defeat such attempts.