law commission of india

The Law Commission of India responding in its Report No. 279 on the subject “Usage of the Law of Sedition,” said that Section 124-A needs to be retained in the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) with certain amendments which can be introduced in it by incorporating the ratio decidendi of Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar, 1962 Supp (2) SCR 769 which says that Section 124-A is constitutionally valid. The restrictions imposed on the freedom of speech and expression are in the interest of public order and are within the ambit of permissible legislative interference with the fundamental right. But the section must be so construed as to limit its application to acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder or disturbance of law and order or incitement to violence.


In S.G. Vombatkere v. Union of India, (2022) 7 SCC 433, the constitutionality of Section 124-A of IPC was challenged. The Union of India agreed to re-examine to find out the manner in which the requirement of security interests and integrity of the State should be balanced with the civil liberties of citizens. In this case, the Supreme Court passed an order directing the Central Government and State Government to refrain from registering any FIR or taking any coercive measures while suspending all continuing investigations in relation to Section 124-A. Further, it also directed that all pending trials, appeals, and proceedings be kept in abeyance.

Recommendations of Law Commission:

The Law Commission is of the view that Section 124-A needs to be retained in the IPC. The Commission also recommended that the scheme of punishment provided under Section 124-A should be amended to ensure that it is brought in parity with the other offences under Chapter VI of the IPC.

Further, the Commision took cognizance of the misuse of Section 124-A and further recommended that the model guidelines curbing the same will be issued by the Central Government. In the same context, it was also suggested that a provision similar to Section 196(3) Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC’) can be incorporated as Proviso to Section 154 of CrPC, relating to Information in Cognizable Cases, which can act as a procedural safeguard before filing of a FIR with respect to the offence under Section 124-A of IPC.

Grounds for Retention of Section 124-A:

  1. Sedition is a Reasonable Restriction under Article 19(2) of the Constitution-

    The Contention that Section 124-A is violative of Article 19(1)(a) does not hold any ground as:

    • The Constituent Assembly substituted the word “sedition” with “which undermines the security of, or tends to overthrow, the State” as it is if wider import and more expansive.
    • The Supreme Court in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar, 1962 Supp (2) SCR 769 held that Section 124-A is constitutional as the restriction it sought to impose on the freedom of speech and expression was a reasonable restriction under Article 19 (2).
    • The Supreme Court, further in Janhit Abhiyan v. Union of India (EWS Reservation), (2023) 5 SCC 1 held that in a catena of decisions, where two interpretations of a legal provision is possible, one which renders the provision as constitutional, and the other, which renders it as unconstitutional, the former construction should prevail over the latter.

  2. Existence of Counter- Terror Legislations does not Obviate the Need for Section 124-A- in absence of 124-A, any expression that incites violence against the Government will invariably be tried under the special laws and counter terror legislations, which are more stringent provisions to deal with the accused.
  3. Sedition being a Colonial Legacy is not a Valid Ground for its Repeal.


  1. Section 124-A, IPCSedition. — 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.
  2. Section 196(3), CrPCProsecution for offences against the State and for criminal conspiracy to commit such offence. — The Central Government or the State Government may, before according sanction under sub-section (1) or sub-section (1-A) and the District Magistrate may, before according sanction under sub-section (1-A)] and the State Government or the District Magistrate may, before giving consent under sub-section (2), order a preliminary investigation by a police officer not being below the rank of Inspector, in which case such police officer shall have the powers referred to in sub-section (3) of Section 155.

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.