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Understanding Sedition in light of Kangana v. Shiv Sena Row

Introduction


Shiv Sena IT cell filed a complaint against Actress Kangana Ranaut at Shrinagar Police Station in Thane, seeking an FIR, charging her under the offense of sedition IPC section 124A for her POK controversy.

It all started with a series of events where BMC officials forcefully measured the actress’s office, planned to demolish it. Shiv Sena asked Kangana to refrain from traveling to Mumbai if she is afraid of Mumbai police more than the movie mafia. Team Kangana tweeted I see many people are threatening me to not come back to Mumbai so I have now decided to travel to Mumbai this coming week on 9th September, I will post the time when I land at the Mumbai airport, Kisi ke baap mein himmat hai toh rok le.BMC officials checked the construction of her office. Then on 9 September, she tweeted, I am never wrong and my enemies prove again and again this is why my Mumbai is POK now #deathofdemocracy. Later on the day, they demolished her office despite the stay order by HC.

Understanding the concept


Sedition as per section 124A IPC states that, whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 3 years or with fine or both [1].

Essential Ingredients of Sedition


1. Words, sign, visible representation, or otherwise, this means communication in any form which is visible to the eye. Distribution or circulation of seditious material will also constitute an offense [2].

2. Brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, it means the inner feeling of hatred or contempt against the government established by law.

3. Excite disaffection, Disaffection includes a feeling of disloyalty and feelings of enmity[3].

Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab [4] it was held by SC that casual raising of slogans once or twice by two individual, alone cannot be said to be aimed at exciting or attempting to excite hatred or dissatisfaction towards the government. The court felt that police officials read too much into the slogan and exhibited a lack of maturity and sensitivity in arresting the two officials.

4. The government established by law; is the central government or state government of India.

5. expressing disapprobation, means disapproval unless a person lawfully disapproves of government it cannot be termed as sedition.


To sum up, sedition is an offense if a person brings or attempts to bring hatred through disapproval against the established government policy or act unlawfully by any mode of communication.

The controversy

Disloyalty to government is not the same thing as commenting in strong terms upon the measures or acts of Government or its agencies to ameliorate the conditions of the people or to secure the cancellation or alteration of those acts or measures by lawful means, without exciting feelings of enmity or using or excite violence[5]. Kangana speaking against the ill acts of government does not come within the folds of sedition and it does not excite any hatred or contempt against the government of India or as a whole India, among its citizen. It is simply against the ill happening done to her by BMC officials which were purely against the High Court order and words as said by Shiv Sena Leader. The tweets against each other are not less than political propaganda. Due to all these things she had to enter Mumbai with Y+ security after her family requested the government for protection.

Conclusion


It is necessary to note that under Article 19((1)(a) of the Indian constitution empowers every Indian citizen freedom of speech and expression so that the country does not lose its independence and one can freely speak their mind. India being a Democratic Country gives its citizen to express their disapproval yet there are restrains under article 19(2) and right is never absolute. One can express both their views and disapproval but cannot say anything against the government established by law and the government officials should also maintain the dignity and sanctity of their power. The thin line of difference shall always be maintained between the use and abuse of power.


References


[1] Indian Penal Code 1860 section 124A

[2] Indra Das v. State of Assam, (2011) 3 SCC 784: AIR 2011 SC 340 : (2011) Cr LJ 982 (SC)

[3] Explanation, Section 124A

[4] Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR 1995 SC 1785 : 3 SCC 214

[5] Sanskar Marathe v. State of Maharashtra (2015) Cr LJ 3561 (Bom): 2015 (2) RCR (Criminal 351.)

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