Striking a balance between Sedition Law and Right to Freedom of Speech & Expression

Manu Sharma
Symbiosis Law School, Pune
Maharashtra, India

Volume II – Issue V, 2019

Freedom of Speech and freedom of Expression are indispensable conditions for the full development of the person. They constitute the foundation stone for every free and democratic society.  The freedom of speech and expression is the first and foremost human right, the first condition of liberty, mother of all liberties, as it makes the life meaningful. However freedom of speech often poses difficult questions, like the extent to which State can regulate individual conduct. Since, individual‘s autonomy is the foundation of this freedom; any restriction on it is subject to great scrutiny.  Although reasonable restrictions can always be imposed on this right in order to ensure its responsible exercise and to ensure that it is equally available to all citizens. The offence of sedition is provided under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.The relevance of this section in an independent and democratic nation is the subject of continuous debate. There is an apprehension that this provision might be misused by the Government to suppress dissent and fair criticism. The paper deals with the history of sedition to its evolving during the pre and post constitutional era to what it is today. Also the paper suggests the questions that still need thorough discussions and debates taking into consideration the fact that India is the largest democracy in the world and freedom of speech and expression is the most celebrated fundamental right.

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