Sedition Law Used Or Abused?

by Shatakshi Gupta

Sedition law in India has always been one of the most controversial and debated topic of the country. When talk of sedition, then one must know that sedition law of India i.e., Section 124A of Indian Penal Code and Freedom of Speech goes hand in hand.

Sedition law is again in news, this time it holds connection with the Indian climate activist, Disha Ravi, activist Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk. Looking into the matter, as of now Disha Ravi who was arrested by the Delhi Police from Bengaluru, has been charged with sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity.

When we tend to know that how all of it started, then we realise that Disha Ravi, who is now being considered as the part of the global conspiracy, had been arrested for sharing or rather tweeting the toolkit which was initially shared by the global climate activist, Greta Thunberg, in support of the farmers’ protest.

Lately, Toolkit has grabbed all the lime light, which actually shifted all the attention of the people from the farmers’ protest towards itself. Disha Ravi, was arrested on the grounds that she made few changes in the toolkit of Greta and shared it again from her twitter handle. But, are the grounds of sedition for sharing a Toolkit are really appropriate?

Sedition law had always remained in question for its very existence in the largest democracy of the world. If we peep into its past, we find that though it was the very result of the British legacy, but when Britishers themselves got away with this law in their own country then why are we still taking it with us. Many are of the view that, this law is being used as a tool by the government for stifling the dissent.

This is not for the first time when the use of Section 124A is being questioned, but our country had came across with such instances in the past as well.

The views of the public over toolkit are echeloned. Delhi Police claimed that Disha Ravi had links with the Pro-Khalistan banned organisations like Poetic Justice Foundation and Sikhs For Justice. Though, Police currently lacks any kind of strong evidence for proving its point. As per Delhi police allegations Ravi, attended the Zoom meetings of these banned organisations and was even antecedently aware about the Republic day violence. On these, grounds Disha Ravi was arrested.

If Ravi had been put to jail for sharing a toolkit on Twitter, then for many it is being seen as the violation of Freedom of Expression, which is too our fundamental right. Currently, the court reserved its order, but in the hearing judge Dharmendra Rana, came up with tough questions which is asked to the police, of how did they established a connection between the R-Day violence and Disha Ravi. Judge Dharmendra Rana also said, “Can’t move ahead unless I satisfy my conscience”.

Also read: 21-Year-Old Climate Activist Arrested In ‘Toolkit’ Case

Sharing a Toolkit on social media, a seditious activity? This is what, is again taking us back to the question, that is the Section 124A being used appropriately or not. If yes, then Police has to probe deeply into the matter, to grab valid evidences. Because, on going through the content of this toolkit we find nothing provocative, or intriguing that could have triggered the violence of Republic Day.

Toolkit contains detailed suggestions

Basically, toolkit is a form of document containing detailed suggestions for reporting an issue and taking steps related to it. Such toolkits are very commonly used among the volunteers, participating in any major campaign or any movement. They are just a set of guidelines, stating the different ways of demonstrations and protests. All lists the ways of spreading more and more awareness about the cause. Toolkit also states of creating a Twitter storm. But is this A Seditious activity?

Such toolkits are very often used by certain social justice as well as human rights campaigner.

Toolkits are also used by journalists, teachers, academics and business heads for their team members. Through this, they mobilise team members, plan and make rapid execution of the project.

Toolkit shared during anti-CAA protests

The toolkit was also shared on WhatsApp during Anti-CAA demonstrations. This toolkit was mentioned with the suggestions about the Twitter hashtags in order to execute their digital campaign, all the information was given about what to do, what not to do, etc.

After arresting Disha Ravi, Delhi Police warrant is now out for Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk under this Toolkit case. Coming days will be more crucial, taking the current situation into consideration.