ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Towards a Political Etymology of Sedition

Criminalisation of sedition is normatively inconsistent with the value framework of democracy.


Anushka Singh writes:

The Supreme Court has observed that the law of sedition (Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code [IPC]) is “colonial” and “stale” and is being “misused” by the executive, hence merits a review possibly to be struck down. This observation branches off into two different yet intersecting analytic propositions which have a bearing on the normative relationship between sedition and ­democracy. First, the critique of the sedition law as colonial, not in a temporal sense but in its function, problematises its very existence after independence by way of a binary construct between democracy and colonialism regardless of its postcolonial use. Second, its critique on the grounds of misuse by the executive shifts the gaze on the working of law disconnected with the ­letter of the law and its colo­nial origin is cited as an argument against the law only as an afterthought. Putting the two together, one may ask—if the perniciousness of its use routinely by the political executive was not exposed, would Indian democracy still be debating the viability of the sedition law and expressing discomfort with its colonial antecedent? The response to this question transcends an analysis of Section 124A and delves deeper into the meaning of the act of sedition and the problematic it formulates for a constitutional democracy like India.

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Updated On : 14th Aug, 2021
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