Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on plea challenging Sedition Law

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The Supreme Court on Monday (July 12) has asked the Centre to submit its response to a petition challenging Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code which deals with sedition.

Attorney general KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought two weeks time from a bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and Ajay Rastogi to file the government’s response.

Earlier, the bench had issued notice to the AG on the petition on April 30.

The plea was filed by two journalists Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla from Manipur and Chhattisgarh respectively.

“The restriction imposed by the section is an unreasonable one, and therefore does not constitute a permissible restriction in terms of Article 19(2) of the Constitution. Hence this petition is filed to humbly pray that Section 124-A be declared unconstitutional and void by this Hon`ble Court and be struck out of the Indian Penal Code,” read the petition.

The petitioners said that the vagueness of Section 124-A exerts an unacceptable chilling effect on the democratic freedoms of individuals.

“As outspoken and responsible journalists, they (petitioners) have been raising questions against their respective state governments as well as the Central government. They have been charged with sedition under Section 124A of IPC in various FIRs for comments and cartoons shared by them on the social networking website Facebook,” added the plea.

The SC bench granted two weeks time sought by the Centre. The next hearing will be done on July 27.

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