The Maharashtra government on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that it had withdrawn a circular on sedition, which said charges could be filed against anyone who criticised elected representatives of the government. A Daily News Analysis report said the circular asked law enforcement officials to keep in mind the sedition law that can be invoked against anyone who by “words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, dissatisfaction and provoking violence” against the government.

The circular came under heavy criticism from the opposition and legal experts, who said it could be used to clamp down on anyone who criticsed the government. Two petitions had been filed in high court saying the circular was a violation of human rights and sought the court’s direction to quash it. The court had asked the state not to act on the circular.