The Supreme Court today, while hearing a batch of cases challenging the validity of Section 124A of the IPC, asked the Centre how it would deal with the ongoing cases under Section 124A and any further cases that may arise, if the batch cases before it are adjourned till the Centre completes the process of reconsideration of the provision.
The Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli heard Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who submitted that the Government is reconsidering the matter and the hearing may be deferred till the reconsideration is over.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the Petitioner in a case objected to the submission of the Solicitor General and submitted that, "This exercise of the Court cannot be stopped merely because the legislature will take time to reconsider for 6 months or 1 year. I take strong objection to the Centre's Affidavit. It is for the judiciary to examine the constitutionality of law."
SC hears the plea challenging the validity of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code— Verdictum (@verdictum_in) May 10, 2022
SG - We have filed our reply it was considered at the level of the executive. If your lordship can defer that is the prayer that we have made in the affidavit#SupremeCourt #Sedition
The Bench, upon hearing the counsel, told the Solicitor General, "We cannot ask everyone to attend the courts and be in jail for months. When Government itself has shown concerns about misuse how will you protect them. We have to balance the rights of people who are jailed and people who are going to be booked." The Bench asked the Solicitor General to take instruction from the Government on the questions raised and to respond tomorrow.
The Court had, on the previous hearing, asked whether the matters should be referred to a constitutional bench. The Solicitor General had asked the Court for time to file a reply.
The Government in its reply filed has stated that the Government is fully cognizant of various views being expressed on the subject and has decided to re-examine and re-consider the provisions of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code and had asked the court to not invest time in examining the validity of the law and await the exercise of reconsideration.