Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday described the Law Commission’s recommendations backing the sedition law as ”shocking” and said this must be ”resisted” as the law is already grossly ”misused”.
The former Union minister’s remarks came after the Law Commission proposed retaining the penal provision for the offence of sedition, saying repealing it altogether can have serious adverse ramifications for the country’s security and integrity.
The commission, chaired by Justice (retired) Ritu Raj Awasthi, also suggested increasing the minimum jail term for the offence of sedition from three years to seven years, seeking to bring it in consonance with the scheme of punishment provided for other offences under Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with offences against the State.
Reacting to the development, Tharoor wrote on Twitter: ”This is shocking and must be resisted. The law is already grossly and frequently misused in our country.” ”My 2014 Private Members’ Bill and @INCIndia’s 2019 manifesto argued for amending the sedition law to bring it into conformity with Supreme Court rulings that restrict sedition to incitement to violence against the state,” he said.
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In 2022, the Supreme Court ordered that the sedition law under section 124A of the IPC should be kept in abeyance and asked the central and state governments to refrain from registering any FIR under it, the former Union minister pointed out.
In its report, the Law Commission has recommended enhancing the jail term in sedition cases from a minimum of three years to seven years, contending that it would allow courts greater room to award punishment in accordance with the scale and gravity of the act committed.
The view evoked a strong reaction from the Congress, which accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of planning to make the law more ”draconian” and giving a message ahead of next year’s general elections that it will be used against opposition leaders.