SC seeks Centre's reply on protecting citizens from sedition cases till it re-examines law

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Supreme Court | Photo: AP

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Centre to apprise it about the views on the issue of protection of interest of citizens till the colonial-era penal law on sedition is reconsidered by an appropriate forum.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana took note of the submissions of the Centre that said it has decided to "re-examine and reconsider" the sedition law by an “appropriate forum” and sought the response to a suggestion whether the filing of sedition cases in future be kept at abeyance till re-examination.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that he would take instruction from the government and apprise the bench on Wednesday.

“We are making it very clear. We want instructions. We will give you time till tomorrow. Our specific queries are: one about pending cases and the second, as to how the government will take care of future cases...,” said the bench.

It sought a response on the issue saying “if future cases can be kept at abeyance till reconsideration is over”.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs in an affidavit filed before the apex court on Tuesday said the decision was in tune with the views of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on shedding “colonial baggage”, noting he has been in favour of the protection of civil liberties and respect of human rights and in that spirit, over 1,500 outdated laws and over 25,000 compliance burdens have been scrapped.

The top court has been hearing a clutch of pleas challenging the validity of the law on sedition which has been under intense public scrutiny for its alleged misuse to settle political scores by various governments.


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