This year has witnessed several high-profile cases charged for sedition under 124-A of the IPC. From JNU case to Amnesty controversies, the debate over nationalism has always been in the centre-stage. However, the central question is whether going against the dominant narrative seditious and should these laws have a place in the modern democracy?
Kanhaiya Kumar Case
JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar along with Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya – were charged with sedition in February this year for allegedly shouting “anti-national” slogans during the protest march against “judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat” and in solidarity with the “struggle” of Kashmiri migrants at the Sabarmati Dhaba in the campus. However, the fascist and dictatorial approach of government is worth the criticism it faced. Attacking the voice of intelligentsia and charging them with sedition is not a right way of preaching “nationalism”.
Bombay High Court’s Remarks
The arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was gravely criticized by Bombay HC, which, in the most powerful words conveyed that “Freedom of speech cannot be encroached upon if there is no incitement to violence or intention of disrupting public order”. The bench of the High court has also rolled out the preconditions of arrest for the police for charges of sedition in its order.