Seditious Text

Last updated on Jun 15, 2022

As a citizen, you have a right to write (newspaper, periodicals etc.) whatever you like about the Government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as you do not incite people to violence against the Government or don’t do with an intent of creating public disorder. Authorship, distribution and circulation are parts of an act of sedition.(( Raghubir Singh v. State of Bihar, A.I.R. 1986 S.C. 508.)) However, just doing one of these acts may not amount to sedition.(( Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras, A.I.R. 1950 S.C. 124.)) It is decided by the Court on a case-by-case basis. If these actions result in public disorder or violence among the people, then those responsible for it would be held liable.

Example: If Mr X, was found in possession of or distributing pamphlets, booklets and letters which discussed a Naxalite organization using violence and guerilla force to fight with the Government, then he is guilty of an act of sedition. These documents themselves show that they are the documents prepared to excite disaffection towards the Government.

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Acts which are not sedition

Criticisms of government policies and their actions, criticisms in good faith or to improve the functioning of the Government do not amount to sedition, as your right to freedom of speech and expression under the Constitution protects these acts.

Meaning of Sedition

When anyone tries to bring hatred or contempt or excites disaffection towards the government, they have committed an act of sedition.

Sedition and Dissatisfaction towards the Government

An act is seditious if your act results in people feeling hatred or contempt towards the Government. A person commits sedition if they use either spoken or written words or gestures, aimed at encouraging people to disobey or resist the government.

Punishment for Sedition

The punishment for sedition can be jail time upto 3 years and/or a fine, or jail time for life and/or a fine, or a fine.

Confiscation of Seditious Material

In a scenario where you are being charged for an act of sedition, every copy that exists of the newspaper, book or document which contains the seditious text or material can be taken away by the Government.

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