Sedition cases double between 2016 and 2018, shows NCRB data
Jharkhand, then under BJP government, registered the highest number of cases in 2018. With 27 people charged for sedition under 17 cases, Assam had the highest number of people booked under the Section 124A of IPC. Left-ruled Kerala registered nine sedition cases in the year.
The number of sedition cases registered across India has doubled between 2016 and 2018, shows the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). While 35 cases were registered in 2016 under Section 124A of IPC, it rose to 70 in 2018. The highest spike was seen in Jammu and Kashmir, from just one case to 12 between these years.
Jharkhand, then under a BJP government, registered the highest number of cases (18) in 2018. With 27 people charged for sedition under 17 cases, Assam had the highest number of people booked under sedition charges. Left-ruled Kerala registered nine sedition cases in the year.
According to the NCRB data, 119 sedition cases have been pending from previous years, making the total number of cases 189. Out of this, investigation is yet to be completed in 135 cases (71%).
The report also shows a rise in the number of cases registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, from 901 in 2017 to 1182 in 2018. Assam (308) and Manipur (289) reported the highest number of cases.
Cases registered under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) went up from 18 in 2017 to 40 in 2018. Maharashtra (16), followed by UP (7) and Punjab (5) registered the highest number of cases in 2018.
The report also showed that the cases lodged under other sections related to “offences against the state” showed a decline in 2018. While 178 cases were registered in 2016, it came down to 160 in 2017 and 149 in 2018.
Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, drafted by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, had become a part of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 1870 during the colonial British rule. Ironically, the UK has repealed sedition as a crime over a decade ago, saying that the provision violated the right to free speech.
Any words, signs, visual representations or any other means causes hatred, contempt, disloyalty or feelings of enmity towards the lawfully established Government of India can constitute sedition, a non-bailable offence. A convicted person can face up to three years of imprisonment in addition to paying a fine.