Retired Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman has urged the Supreme Court to strike down the sedition law and offensive parts of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in order to let citizens breathe freely.
Retired SC Justice Rohinton Nariman was speaking at a function organised by Viswanath Pasayat Memorial Committee. (File Photo)
Former Supreme Court Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman has urged the top court to strike down Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises sedition and offensive parts of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
Speaking at a function organised by the Viswanath Pasayat Memorial Committee, Justice Nariman said on Sunday, “I would exhort the supreme court to not send sedition law cases pending before it back to the Centre. Governments will come and go (but) it is important for the court to use its power and strike down Section 124A and the offensive portions of UAPA. Then citizens here would breathe more freely.”
Justice Nariman, who retired from the Supreme Court in August this year, said India’s rank in the global law index is 142 because of the draconian and colonial laws that still exist.
” The Nobel Peace Prize was given to two journalists from the Philippines. India’s rank there was 142…Why? This is more to do with India’s bank of colonial laws,” he asserted.
Stressing on the history of sedition law in the UK and India, Justice Nariman said that the Supreme Court must strike down penal provisions of sedition.
“We had the China and Pakistan wars. Thereafter, we introduced the draconian legislation- UAPA. Disaffection continues in the statute book and UAPA is a draconian act as it has no anticipatory bail and has a minimum of 5 years imprisonment. This act is not under scanner yet. This too has to be looked into along with the sedition law,” he expressed.
Observing that ‘imminent lawless action’ is the standard to be applied presently, which was established by the US Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), Justice Nariman asked, “In this backdrop, how in this large democracy is Section 124A surviving?
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