The sedition law is archaic, introduced by the British in order to keep its former colony on its knees. The language was toughened in the 1890s, precisely because the British attorney general felt the colonial masters could not give Indians a law that is common for British citizens as well. The Indians were subjects and had to be subjugated. This law was an instrument of colonial oppression. And Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and others who were victims of it had all promised that it will be done away with. It is one of the major oversights of Indian democracy that this law has not changed.
In the early 1960s, there were a couple of cases in which the Supreme Court clarified the interpretation of sedition. The top court said unless words incite violence, sedition can’t be applied. The more important principle is that because of that judgment, whenever sedition cases reach the top court, the accused are invariably let off the hook. Why we haven’t updated the law is still not understandable. I have introduced a private member’s bill with an aim to rewrite the sedition law that would read and bind a Supreme Court judgment.