In the light of the raging JNU issue, this is an attempt to convey the exact nature of sedition law in India minus the legal jargon to make it palatable to commoners like us.
The points enumerated have been aggregated from Live Law
Well, firstly, it is Section 124A in the sixth chapter of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that deals with sedition per se.
Interestingly the section does not even once use the word ‘sedition”!
It was not part of the original IPC of 1860 and was introduced only in 1870. When amended in 1898, the original single explanation was replaced by three sets of explanation.
To quote it verbatim:
“Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
Explanation 1.—The expression “disaffection” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
Explanation 2.—Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.
Explanation 3.—Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.”
Simply put, any person by speaking or writing or through gestures or visual symbols generates hatred, contempt, disloyalty or enmity towards a lawfully elected government will be punished with:
-either life imprisonment plus fine
-or imprisonment upto three years plus fine
-or just fine
In the first two cases, fine is optional, just so that you know.
The scope of this law cannot be extended to include comments which disapprove of any governmental measure or administrative action and which seek to alter the same, but without inciting any of the above-mentioned emotions.
So, there's sedition unravelled for you.
Now the only question remaining is whether the JNU students can actually be charged with sedition...can they?