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Government Panel: Colonial past no basis to scrap sedition law, advises Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has been advised by the Law Commission that the sedition law should not be repealed solely based on its colonial origins. The panel supports the existence of the law, emphasizing that its complete repeal could have serious negative implications for national security and integrity. The Law Commission argues that labeling a law as “colonial” does not automatically render it obsolete, and the colonial origins of a law are not inherently grounds for its repeal.

The Commission stresses the need to consider the ground realities in India and suggests retaining the law with appropriate safeguards to prevent misuse. While acknowledging concerns about misuse, the panel recommends issuing model guidelines to curb such incidents. It also suggests incorporating procedural safeguards analogous to Section 196(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure due process before filing an FIR under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code. The report highlights that while procedural guidelines are necessary, allegations of misuse do not warrant the outright repeal of the provision. The Commission states that sedition being a “colonial legacy” is not a valid reason for repeal and points out that the existence of other laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the National Security Act does not cover all elements of sedition. The report urges the introduction of legal measures to prevent misuse instead of repealing the law entirely. It emphasizes that repealing the provision could give subversive forces a free hand to pursue their agendas, posing a threat to the country’s security and integrity. The Law Commission received a reference from the home ministry in 2016 to study the usage of Section 124A and suggest amendments if necessary.


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