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Sedition Law To Be Paused Until Review: Supreme Court’s Historic Order

Sedition Law To Be Paused Until Review: Supreme Court's Historic Order

Sedition Law: If any fresh cases are filed, those charged can approach the court

New Delhi:
The sedition law will be paused until the government completes its review, the Supreme Court said today in a landmark order that impacts hundreds charged under the colonial-era rule. Those already facing sedition charges can approach courts for bail.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. All pending cases will be kept in abeyance while the government reconsidered the sedition law, the Supreme Court said, referring to petitions that challenged the law alleging its misuse in cases like in Maharashtra, where it was invoked over the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa.

  2. “It will be appropriate not to use this provision of law till further re-examination is over. We hope and expect that centre and state will desist from registering any FIR under 124 A (sedition law) or initiate proceeding under the same till re-examination is over,” said Chief Justice NV Ramana.

  3. If any fresh cases are filed, those charged can approach the court.

  4. “The Union of India is at liberty to pass directives to states to prevent misuse of the law,” the Chief Justice added.

  5. The government, which announced its decision to review the sedition law in a major turnaround, argued that it was not in favour of pausing the law. It had recommended that for now, only senior police officers should file cases they believe constitute sedition.

  6. “The government proposes to the Supreme Court that a police officer of the level of Superintendent or above should decide, for now, on whether a sedition charge should be filed in future FIRs,” the Centre’s lawyer, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, told the Supreme Court.

  7. “There has to be a layer of scrutiny, where a responsible officer is there to scrutinise the gravity of the situation and there of course would be judicial forums,” said the Solicitor General, adding that a law cannot be stayed on the basis of a PIL (Public Interest Litigation).

  8. Pending cases, the government said, were already before courts. “And they may involve terrorism, money-laundering and other additional charges. They are already before courts and should be left on courts to decide,” said the government.

  9. “We do not know the gravity of offences pan-India. There may be other terrorism charges too in these cases. These pending cases are not before police or government. But they are before Court. So, we should not guess the wisdom of Courts,” Mr Mehta said.

  10. Petitioners opposed the government’s stand and urged the court to pause the sedition law until the government’s review of the colonial-era legislation is over. To which, the Solicitor General said: “We cannot undermine respect for the judiciary of the country.”

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