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Kedar Nath Singh vs. State of Bihar


Authored By : Pallavi Barwar


Abstract :

This judgment analysis was a small research work to make it clear the laws of sedition and it's applicability and lacunas. This has shown how this law has generated by the England lawmakers to gain a monopoly and how this law has been outdated in today's democratic scenario. The judgment of Kedarnath Singh has made it clear the essentials of sedition and how it will be used concerning different other constitutional rights.

Keywords :

Section 124(a) and 505, constitutional validity, sedition, decision, court


Citation:

1962 AIR 1955, 1962 SCR Supl.(2) 769


Petitioner:

Kedar Nath Singh


Respondent:

State of Bihar


Bench:

Sinha, Bhuvneshwar P.(Cj), Das, S.K., Sarkar, A.K., Ayyangar, N. Rajagopala, Mudholkar, J.R.


Introduction :

The sedition law was formed in the colonial period by Thomas Babington Macaulay. Section 124(A) of this law states that any word written or spoken that brings dishonor to the government then this would be considered as an offense. There were many cases registered under this law since 1970 when it was registered under IPC. But this law has been in highlights and caught attention from the law the last 3 to 4 years due to the anti-movement by the student's od Jawarhlal Nehru University who was arrested on the grounds of sedition under this section.

The major highlight to this section was Ram Nandan v. State of Uttar Pradesh where High Court restricted this section by saying that this law violated the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression but the decision was rejected by the supreme court in case of Kedarnath Singh v. State of Bihar.

Background :

Sedition law is a law of the colonial period (17th century) which was drafted by England lawmakers to maintain law and order with proper peace and to punish the legal offenders. To implement it section 124(A) came into force under IPC .the father of the nation designated this section as the prince among the other penal sections, but he was also charged under sedition for writing an inappropriate article. The law was and is criticized because it has restricted the fundamental right of free speech and expression of citizens. Thus, after a detailed study, it was stated that rights also have certain restrictions and sedition can't be overruled based on these cases.

Facts :

The case was registered against Kedarnath Singh who was a member of the forward communist part. He has used some inappropriate words against the CID and Indian National Congress by calling them dogs and Sundays and said that one day the congress leaders and zamindars who have looted their country will turn into ashes and then the government for poor for welfare will be established. Based on this reason case was registered under section 124(A) and 505 of public mischief due to which Kedarnath went behind the bars from 1 year. he has appealed in Patna High Court but from there to his appeal was rejected on the basis that his complete was against government action and speech criticizes government action and was seditious.

On further approach, the matter went to SC and there the constitutional validity of these 2 sections was challenged based on previous landmark judgments.

While referring to the judgments, Hon'ble Supreme Court thought that if the judgment and interpretation of the Federal Court are accepted then the impugned sections would come within the ambit of permissible legislative restrictions on the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.

Issue :

The validity of these two sections was 124(A) and 505 was opposed. The question was whether these two sections were valid in today's scenario concerning article 19(1) (a) and Article 19(2) of the constitution.

The second issue was whether all this public disorder, bad intention, anti-national movement is required to put in the category of sedition or not.

Judgments :

The decision of the court on this case was that to maintain law and order in the society is the foremost priority of any government and it wouldn't be wrong to punish the offenders to protect the state. In India, the free speech is given to all citizens but there are required certain restrictions to protect state law and order. The court said that Section124 (A) and 505 are ruled out if we see it about article 19(1)(a) and Article19(2) but along with this Supreme Court also stated that section 124(A) need to be interpreted by judges keeping in mind two essentials.1. the act will be of sedition if it is intended to spread hatred against the government and have the effect of subverting the government by violent means.

Highlights :

This is a very crucial landmark judgment which has thrown light on many matters.

This has shown the importance of freedom of speech and expression.

Has cleared confusion of citizens by giving priority to the security of state than the rights of individuals.

In another judgment of Dr. Binayak Sen v. State of Chhattisgarh he was accused of sedition against Chhattisgarh Government, as he was alleged to have supported the Naxalites thereby violating the provision of Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005.

Conclusion :

The court in this case provided a very acceptable decision by protecting the rights of citizens as well as the security of the state. After this judgment too there has been no change in the performance of these laws but via this case, the court has clearly stated that taking the defense of article 19 in case of sedition might not be useful for the law offenders because the security of state comes first. Moreover, the government has thoroughly used this section to teach a lesson to the anti-nationalist. The above judgment has given a clear decision about the essentials of seditions to clear the further confusion.

References :

[1] Pande, T. (n.d.). Kedarnath singh v. State of Bihar. Www.Legalserviceindia.Com. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-3455-kedarnath-singh-v-state-of-bihar.html [2] Pande, T. (n.d.). Kedarnath singh v. State of Bihar. Www.Legalserviceindia.Com. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-3455-kedarnath-singh-v-state-of-bihar.html

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