The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a fresh petition challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition law, Live Law reported.
The plea filed by a retired Army General said that Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code is based on unconstitutionally vague definitions like “disaffection towards government”, according to Bar and Bench.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy will hear Major General SG Vombatkere’s plea on Thursday.
“[It] is an unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right to free expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) [of the Constitution] and causes constitutionally impermissible chilling effect on speech,” the plea contended.
It added that there has been a lot of change in the interpretation of fundamental rights like Article 14 (right to equality), Article 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and Article 21 (right to life) of the Indian Constitution. In view of that, there is need to take into account the “march of the times and the development of the law” before dealing with sedition, the plea said.
“In the changed legal and constitutional landscape, the said provision [Section 124A of IPC] ought to be unequivocally and unambiguously struck down,” the plea argued.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the Supreme Court asked Advocate PB Suresh, representing Vombatkere, to send a copy of the petition to Attorney General KK Venugopal.
In April, a three-judge Supreme Court bench of Justices UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph had sought response from the Centre on a plea filed by by two journalists – Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha from Manipur and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla from Chhattisgarh – challenging the sedition law.