MUMBAI (TIP): The arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was charged with sedition for his ‘offensive’ cartoons, has once again brought into focus the contentious law under the Indian Penal Code.
Sedition as defined under IPC Section 124 A says, “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.”
Interestingly, India’s first prime minister had described this section as “highly objectionable and obnoxious”.
Several Indians in the past have been charged under this act. Prominent freedom fighters charged with sedition law include Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mohandas Gandhi.
Section 124A was introduced by the British colonial government in 1870 when it felt the need for a specific section to deal with the offence.