Question: Explain the ingredients of sedition as contemplated under I.P.C. Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain the ingredients of sedition as contemplated under I.P.C.] Answer Section 124A of IPC deals with the provision for Sedition. This section was carved out as Section 113 of Macaulay’s draft Penal Code of 1837. Thereafter, it… Read More »

Question: Explain the ingredients of sedition as contemplated under I.P.C. Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain the ingredients of sedition as contemplated under I.P.C.] Answer Section 124A of IPC deals with the provision for Sedition. This section was carved out as Section 113 of Macaulay’s draft Penal Code of 1837. Thereafter, it was suggested to be included in the Penal Code. There was no mention of this section when the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was...

Question: Explain the ingredients of sedition as contemplated under I.P.C.

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain the ingredients of sedition as contemplated under I.P.C.]

Answer

Section 124A of IPC deals with the provision for Sedition. This section was carved out as Section 113 of Macaulay’s draft Penal Code of 1837. Thereafter, it was suggested to be included in the Penal Code.

There was no mention of this section when the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was enforced due to unaccountable reasons. The need for insertion of a provision regarding Sedition was felt in 1870 by virtue of the Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act 1870.

Section 124A as described by Sinha CJ is based on the principle that,

“every State, whatever its form of Govt, has to be armed with the power to punish those who by their conduct, jeopardize the safety and stability of the state, or disseminate such feelings of disloyalty as have the tendency to lead to the disruption of the State or to public order”.

In order to sustain a conviction under Section 124-A, it must be proved:

(a) that the accused spoke the words in question,

(b) that he thereby brought or attempted to bring into hatred or contempt or excites or attempts to excite disaffection, and

(c) that such disaffection was towards the Govt. established by law in India

Hereunder are the four essential ingredients required to establish conviction under this section. These ingredients can be derived from the explanation of sedition as given in Section 124A of the IPC.

1. Words, Signs, Visible Representation or Otherwise

The first and foremost element of sedition under Section 124A is some act done by a person or a group of people- a gesture or sign, spoken or written words, etc.

In a trial for sedition, the first thing that must be proved is that the person under trial actually participated in the act before checking if it was seditious or not.

Without concrete gestures or words that can be traced back to the accused, a case for sedition cannot even exist against him.

2. Brings or Attempts to bring into Hatred or Contempt, or Excites or Attempts to Excite Disaffection

The essence of sedition lies in the intention of the person being accused. Such a person must have an active intention to create hatred, contempt, or disaffection towards the government in the minds of people. Disaffection has been specifically defined by Explanation 1 under Section 124A, as all feelings of disloyalty and enmity towards the state.

The intention of a person to spread hatred or disaffection can be inferred from the act or speech itself. Under the Section, the mere attempt to excite hatred is also punishable and so it is not necessary to check whether the person achieved this purpose or not.

In case it is a speech, it should be studied as a whole, freely and fairly. On this basis, the intention of the speaker should also be judged. Words should not be taken out of context. Only if the speech advocated for a rebellion or action to overthrow the Government through dishonest or illegal means, with the use of violence or even the threat of violence, should that speech be included in sedition.

The case of Niharendu Dutt Majumdar v. King-Emperor [(1942) 4 FCR 38] was amongst the first where the court established this element as essential to the crime of sedition. In this case, the court held that sedition essentially means a person’s intention to promote public disorder or his reasonable anticipation that his words or actions will promote public disorder.

Therefore, “incitement to violence or the tendency or the intention to create public disorder” is a crucial element of sedition.

3. Government Established by Law

An essential element of the crime of sedition as per Section 124A is that the actions or words of the person should have expressed hatred towards the Government and it should incite disaffection and violence against the Government established by law in India.

In the case of Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (1962) AIR 955, the Supreme Court noted for the first time, that,

the term “Government established by law” here does not mean “the persons for the time being engaged in carrying on the administration”, but instead referred to the Government as “the visible symbol of the State”.

4. Expressing Disapprobation- Explanations 2 and 3

Explanation 2 and 3 to Section 124A attempts to explain what cannot be included in sedition. These explanations provides that comments which express a person’s disapprobation i.e. disapproval or dislike of the measures or actions of the Government of India are not considered sedition if their only aim is to bring about a lawful change in the Government’s policies, without wanting to excite hatred or contempt towards it.

This is in aim recognises a citizen’s ‘Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression’, indicating that criticism of the state and its policies by the people is a fundamental part of a democracy and therefore, it cannot be taken away.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. IPC Mains Questions Series Part I: Important Questions
  2. IPC Mains Questions Series Part II: Important Questions
  3. IPC Mains Questions Series Part III: Important Questions
  4. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IV: Important Questions
  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
  6. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VI: Important Questions
  7. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VII: Important Questions
  8. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VIII: Important Questions
  9. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IX: Important Questions
  10. IPC Mains Questions Series Part X: Important Questions
Updated On 2021-07-31T05:26:28+05:30
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