Tag Archives: sedition laws in India

On sedition: Sarim Naved

In this guest post, SARIM NAVED gives a chronological account of sedition in Indian law, and discusses the procedural aspects laid down for a magistrate to take cognisance of sedition

After the 1857 revolt, the Press Act of 1857 which prohibited all publications, without licensing, was passed. This Act known as Lord Canning’s Act  applied to all kinds of publication, including books in all languages and other printed papers in all languages. 1860 saw the enactment of the Indian Penal Code, which remains in force today in a relatively unchanged manner. The Indian Penal Code, while not directly dealing with the press, does incorporate provisions that impinge upon and regulate the activities of the press. The code dealt with issues ranging from offences against a person’s body or property to criminal breach of trust to offences like defamation and obscenity that directly concerned editors.  In the words of Rajeev Dhavan, “It was a comprehensive code. Not all these provisions were directed against free speech but virtually all could be used against it.” Amendments were later introduced to bring in the offence of sedition in 1870, the offence of promoting enmity between classes in 1898, the offence of outraging religious feelings in 1928 and imputations or assertions prejudicial to national integration, which were added by the government of independent India in 1972. Continue reading On sedition: Sarim Naved