Criticism of govt does not mean sedition or defamation: SC

New Delhi: The SC clarified on Monday that sedition or defamation cases cannot be slapped on anyone criticising the government. “Someone making a statement to criticise the govt does not invoke any offense under sedition or defamation law”, a bench consisting of Justices Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit said.

“We have made it clear to all that invoking of section 124(A) [it is related to sedition] of the IPC requires certain guidelines to be followed as per the earlier judgements of the apex court”, they said while refraining from commenting further.

The observation came in as Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was appearing for an NGO, said that the sedition was a serious offense and the law on it was being grossly misused for stifling dissent.

Referring to the report by NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), the plea said that 47 cases of sedition were filed in the year 2014 alone and 58 people were arrested in connection with these cases.

The NGO says that, before any sedition case is filed, the city’s or state’s police chief should give a report clarifying whether the said comments or acts has led to violence or the accused had sought to create public disorder.

The court was hearing a plea seeking the court’s intervention to address the ‘misuse’ of the section 124 (A) of IPC, contending that such a charge was being framed with a view to ‘instill fear and scuttle dissent’.

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