Calling the British-era sedition law as "colonial", the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to respond to a former army officer's petition and questioning its "misuse."
Coming down heavily on the sedition law, the apex court said that it is a colonial law that was used by the British to target the likes of Mahatma Gandhi.
"Do we still need this after 75 years of Independence to keep this law in the constitution?" observed the Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy.
The plea, filed by Major-General S G Vombatkere (Retd) submitted that Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the offence of sedition, is wholly unconstitutional and should be unequivocally and unambiguously struck down".
The apex court observed that this section has seen a very low conviction rate and there is an enormous scope for misuse of it which is worrying. The court added that there is no accountability of executive agencies, much like cases being filed under Section 66A, which was struck down by the top court in 2015.
The Bench said a police officer who wants to fix someone in the village, can invoke sedition proceedings. On the other hand, people are scared about the invocation of sedition since bail is not easily provided in this case. "Our concern is the misuse of the law and no accountability of agencies."
The court said while the Central government is taking out old, redundant laws, why is it not looking at sedition law.
Earlier, a separate bench of the top court had sought a response from the Centre on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of sedition law, filed by two journalists -- Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla -- working in Manipur and Chhattisgarh respectively.
With inputs from PTI
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)
First Published: IST