NEW DELHI: Amid a raging debate over the misuse of the sedition law, the opposition in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday demanded that it be scrapped, even as Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Law Commission, reviewing it, had been asked to submit its report as soon as possible.
He said the government could take a stand on the issue only after examining the report, including calling an all-party meeting on the issue.
The Minister’s statement came during Question Hour when the opposition members expressed concern over the misuse of the law, with senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav demanding that the law be scrapped. “This was a law made by Britishers, and the government should get rid of this colonial legacy. This should be scrapped,” he insisted.
CPI leader D Raja said section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code under which one is charged with sedition was a “relic” and demanded its deletion, reminding the House that he had even brought a private member’s bill in this regard. He sought to know what is the justification for slapping sedition charges against JNU students.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad pointed that given the wide definition of the sedition law, “half of the parties of the country will be anti-national if there is a ban on speaking against the government”. He also asked whether those engaged in “communal divide” would be brought under the ambit of the sedition law after review.
“Anybody, who speaks against the government can be booked under sedition law. Amendments have been suggested because the definition is very wide... there are various cases. That is why concerns have been raised. I would like to ask the Law Commission to consider a very comprehensive review,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, replying to questions.
No bail till Mar 18 for jnu boys
A Delhi court on Wednesday reserved for March 18 its order on JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya’s bail pleas in a sedition case. Police opposed it saying they were the main organisers of the event. The duo, lodged in jail since February 23, has sought bail on the ground of parity with JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, saying he had already been granted bail and the incident did not attract charges of sedition.
Outsiders raised pro-pak voice
Provocative slogans including ‘Bharat ko ragda do ragda’ (India should be stamped out) and ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ were raised at a controversial JNU event by a group of masked outsiders, a high-level inquiry committee of the varsity has said. However, the report said video footages of the February 9 event does not show anyone raising the slogan “Bharat Ki Barbadi tak jung rahegi” (Fight will go on till India is ruined).