Distinction between free speech, sedition is being lost sight of by establishment -Madan B Lokur

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published Published on Oct 14, 2020   modified Modified on Oct 14, 2020

-The Indian Express

Madan B Lokur writes: It is time for the establishment to realise that the people of this country mean well, and in any democracy, there are bound to be different points of view.

A gradual erosion of one of our most precious fundamental rights — the right to freedom of speech and expression — is adversely impacting the liberty of all those who dare to speak up. Our freedom of speech is being mauled, through twisting and turning the law if not abusing it altogether. In my opinion, one of the worst forms of curtailment of the freedom of speech is charging a person with sedition. In 1962, a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court … drew a correlation between sedition and violence, sedition and inciting violence, and sedition and tendency to incite violence — not just simple violence but violence of such a degree as to bring it within the purview of public disorder. So, when you have rival gangs confronting each other and one of them shouts “maro”, a law-and-order situation of rioting and attempt to murder arises, not of sedition. However, depending on the occasion and context, when a speaker raises a slogan at a public gathering of supporters by shouting “goli maro”, a charge could possibly be laid of tending to incite violence or incitement to violence and raising a public order issue rather than a law-and-order issue. The distinction is quite clear.

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The Indian Express, 14 October, 2020, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/sedition-law-free-speech-india-modi-govt-madan-b-lokur-6723906/

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