New Delhi [India], June 2 (ANI): The Law Commission of India, in its report submitted to the Law Ministry, has recommended that Section 124A of IPC dealing with Sedition needs to be retained in the Indian Penal Code, though certain amendments, so as to bring about greater clarity regarding the usage of the provision.
"We further recommend that the scheme of punishment provided under the said section be amended to ensure that it is brought in parity with the other offences under Chapter VI of IPC," stated the Law Commission report.
Moreover, taking cognizant of the views regarding the misuse of Section 124A, the Commission recommended that model guidelines curbing the same be issued by the central government.
In this context, it is also alternatively suggested that a provision analogous to Section 196(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) may be incorporated as a proviso to Section 154 of CrPC, which would provide the requisite procedural safeguard before the filing of an FIR with respect to an offence under Section 124A of IPC.
The reasons leading upto these recommendations have been deliberated over in detail in the enclosed report and the Commission is of the firm belief that incorporating the same would go a long way in addressing the concerns associated with the usage of this provision, the report added.
Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, chairperson of the 22nd Law Commission of India, in the report based on 'Usage of the Law of Sedition, stated, "We undertook a comprehensive study of the law relating to sedition and its usage in India, tracing its genesis and development."The Commission also analysed the history of sedition, both in colonial and independent India, the law on sedition in various jurisdictions, and the various pronouncements of the Supreme Court and the High Courts on the subject matter.
The Law Commission Reporter stated that it received a reference from the Ministry of Home Affairs for a study of the usage of the provision of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and suggest amendments, if any.
The constitutionality of Section 124A of IPC was challenged before the Supreme Court.
The Union of India assured the Supreme Court that it was re-examining Section 124A and the court may not invest its valuable time in doing the same. Pursuant to the same and vide order passed on May 11, 2022, the Supreme Court directed the central government and all state governments to refrain from registering any FIR or taking any coercive measures, while suspending all continuing investigations in relation to Section 124A. Further, it also directed that all pending trials, appeals, and proceedings be kept in abeyance.
The 22nd Law Commission, after the appointment of the chairperson and other members, vide notification dated November 7, 2022, immediately took up this reference and submitted this final report for consideration. (ANI)