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GS-II :
  • 09 September, 2019

  • Min Read

Criticizing executive, judiciary and bureaucracy cannot be called sedition: SC Judge

GS-II: Criticizing executive, judiciary and bureaucracy cannot be called sedition: SC Judge

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Justice Deepak Gupta, judge of the Supreme Court, opined about the chilling effect caused by sedition law on legitimate criticism of the organs of state. As citizens, Indians have the right to criticize the government, and criticism cannot be construed as sedition, he said, adding that stifling such criticism will make us a police state.

Sedition and Right to dissent

  • Criticism of the executive, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, the armed forces cannot be termed sedition.
  • If we stifle criticism of these institutions, we shall become a police state instead of a democracy.”
  • There is a very important right which is not spelt out in the Constitution… the right of freedom of opinion, the right of freedom of conscience, by themselves, include the most important right the right to dissent.

Why is dissent important?

Every society has its own rules, and over a period of time, when people stick to only age-old rules and conventions, society degenerates; it doesn’t develop.

New thinkers are born when they disagree with well-accepted norms of society. If everybody follows the well-trodden path, no new paths will be created and no new vistas of the mind will be found.

A right to expression

He said that in a secular country such as India, a non-believer, an atheist, an agnostic, a ritualistic or a spiritualist person all have the right to expression.

When we talk of dissent, it reminds us of Justice H R Khanna in the habeas corpus case.

That dissent is more important than any decision that may have come before or after it. Today, it is the rule of law.

Judiciary is not above criticism

  • The judge emphasized that allowing a climate for the free expression of thoughts and ideas without fear of criminal prosecution is essential for the growth of civilization.
  • The judiciary is not above criticism. If Judges of the superior courts were to take note of all the contemptuous communications received by them, there would be no work other than the contempt proceedings.

Source: Indian Express


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