The Indian Penal Court Section 124-A confirms Sedition as a serious offense committed against the government and the country. The written section 124- A defines sedition as, “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….” It further clarifies that the word disaffection here refers to disloyalty and portraying enmity.
Sedition law’s origin is dated back to the Wahabi Movement of the 19th century involving jihadists against the British, but was fully terminated in 1870s. The British then introduced the term ‘Sedition’ in IPC in 1870 under the Indian Law. The British used the sedition law to retain stately power during the Indian Freedom Struggle. This law was drafted by Thomas McCaulay. And the sedition act was enforced on many freedom fighters including Mahatma Gandhi (1922), Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
Mahatma Gandhi in his article published in a Youth Magazine, 1922, had stated “Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by the law. If one has no affection for a person, one should be free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection, so long as he does not contemplate, promote or incite to violence.”
During the first amendment, then PM of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had identified offense of sedition being fundamentally unconstitutional and further said that, “now so far as I am concerned [Section 124-A] is highly objectionable and obnoxious and it should have no place both for practical and historical reasons. The sooner we get rid of it the better.”
The Supreme Court had however limited the act of sedition to -intentions and tendencies to disrupt the law of order or incite violence, in respect to the freedom speech guaranteed by the Indian Constitution of under Article 19.