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  • 06 September, 2022

  • 9 Min Read

National Crime Records Bureau Data on Sedition

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Data on Sedition Cases

According to recent National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, Assam has been the state with the most sedition charges over the past eight years.

NCRB Report

Data on sedition cases (registered under Section 124A of the IPC) have been available since 2014, according to the NCRB, which accumulates and publishes crime statistics as reported by states and union territories.

Image Source - The Indian Express


  • Under the heading "Offenses Against State," information about sedition instances is included.
  • Sedition-related cases filed under Section 124A of the IPC are included under the second subhead, "Others," whereas cases filed under Sections 121, 121A, 122, and 123 of the IPC are listed under the first subhead, "Sedition."
  • Facts: Throughout all, 149 offenses against the state were recorded in the nation in 2021, 76 of which fell under the category of sedition and 73 under the category of "other."
  • In 2020, there were 172 offences against the state overall, compared to 163 in 2019.

Findings In NCRB's Report:

  • Assam was responsible for 69 (14.52%) of the 475 sedition cases reported in the country between 2014 and 2021.
  • After Assam, Haryana (42 cases) had the highest number of such cases reported, followed by Jharkhand (40), Karnataka (38), Andhra Pradesh (32), and Jammu & Kashmir (32). (29).
  • Over the course of the eight-year period, these six states were responsible for 250 cases, or more than half of all sedition cases reported in the nation.
  • In 2021, 76 sedition incidents were reported nationwide, a small rise from the 73 reported in 2020.
  • Meghalaya, Mizoram, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, as well as Puducherry, did not record even one sedition case during that time.
  • Assam was the source of roughly one in every six sedition instances that were reported in the nation over the course of the previous eight years.
  • These cases occurred in 93 cases in 2019, 70 cases in 2018, 51 cases in 2017, 35 cases in 2016, 30 cases in 2015, and 47 cases in 2014.
  • During the 2014–21 period, eight sedition cases were recorded by each of the three states of Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, while six cases were reported by Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Goa.
  • Lakshadweep, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra each reported just one case of sedition.
  • Arunachal Pradesh and Gujarat both registered three sedition cases, while Sikkim and Tripura registered two each.

Image Source - Hindustan Times

About Sedition Law

  • When parliamentarians in 17th-century England believed that only positive opinions of the government should endure because negative opinions were harmful to the government and monarchy, sedition laws were passed.
  • Thomas Macaulay, a British historian, and politician, first drafted the statute in 1837; nevertheless, it was mysteriously left out when the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was adopted in 1860.
  • James Stephen's amendment to the Constitution, which saw the need for a separate provision to address the offence, resulted in the addition of Section 124A in 1870.
  • Currently, Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code makes sedition a crime (IPC).
  • A person commits the crime of sedition, as defined by Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) if they incite or seek to incite hatred, contempt, or disaffection against the legally established government.
  • The clause was included in the penal code (IPC) in 1898, over four decades after the IPC was first published, and it has since passed the constitutionality test.
  • Penalty: The offence carries a potential sentence of life in prison plus a fine or an extra three years in jail.
  • Since Independence, courts have upheld the statute. In the 1950s, the Punjab and Allahabad High Courts knocked down the sedition law as a restriction on free speech.
  • The law was subsequently given constitutional legality by a five-judge Supreme Court judgment in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (1962).
  • The state was admonished by the supreme court to implement the law fairly and to only apply it in situations where seditious speech was likely to incite "public unrest."
  • However, the term "public disorder" was utilized by the Court in its ruling despite it not appearing anywhere in the law's provisions.
  • In P. Alavi v. the State of Kerala, the Supreme Court determined that making statements critical of the government or the judiciary system did not constitute sedition.

Justifications for the Sedition Law

  • Aids in the fight against terrorist, separatist, and anti-national groups like Maoists, etc.
  • The judiciary has a responsibility to uphold Constitutional Articles 19 and 21 and will make sure that the law is not abused.
  • In Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar (1962), the court upheld the law's goal of preserving territorial integrity but required actual acts of violence in order for it to be applied.
  • provides stability by shielding the elected administration from coups.
  • Simply because Section 124A has been improperly used in some well-publicized cases doesn't mean it should be abolished.
  • Such clauses are found in the penal codes of sovereign nations, such as the US and other democracies.

Defences of the Sedition Law

  • Examples of Abuse: Because the law's provisions are broad in scope, various governments have abused them to target political dissent.
  • Unjustifiably, the law is utilized to stifle opponents, including opposition supporters, journalists, social activists, etc.
  • Numerous Law Commission studies and court rulings have documented the widespread abuse of the law that endangers the lives of those charged.
  • Limits Free Speech: Due to the difficulty in identifying and separating sincere expression of speech from seditious speech, there is a restriction on the lawful use of Free Speech and Expression (Article 19).

Way Forward

  • Advocacy efforts are necessary to inform the various facets of society about the significance of this provision in addition to the reform.
  • The future of dissent and free expression in the nation may benefit from repealing or amending the sedition statute.
  • The government should follow through on its promises and proceed to reach a logical conclusion.

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Source: The India Express

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