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Those presiding over Law Commission wanting to strengthen sedition law is dangerous

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

The Law Commission has given a report to government of India suggesting that anti Sedition law should be further strengthened and penalty must be made more stringent. So penalise people for this 'crime' to life imprisonment. The maximum penalty for Sedition is set at three years at the moment. In the last 10 years, this provision was used mostly against the intellectuals and dissenters of this government who were blamed as 'urban naxals' and 'anti national'. 
Most of the legal luminaries including many former judges have actually asked for complete abrogation of this law as they feel no modern democracy can allow such dangerous laws to punish the political dissenters. In democracy, dissent and disagreement are part as long as everyone stick to rule based order which also stick to modern human rights perspective, respect international laws and treaties. 
One can understand that the demand from the 'devotees' of our prime minister and his government, that this law should be strengthened with more stringent provisions but when this come from a person who is chairperson of the Law Commission then it is a warning. It is an indication in which direction the win is blowing and what is the government thinking. 
 That a man presiding over Law Commission could give such a report which can ultimately overthrow the whole idea of democracy is dangerous and I hope judiciary will be watching this that there are people in their fraternity who may not like the very idea of 'constitutional democracy'. Look at what have been presented to us in the form of judgement and any fair person would feel extremely disturbed. At least no one can be proud of such judgements which do not have constitutional basis.
When the Law Commission report was made public, we saw another 'landmark' judgement from 'Allahabad High Court'. A single judge bench was listening to the matter of 'rape' which was basically the relationship between two individuals and the boy refused to marry the girl because according to him the girl was 'Mangalik'. The Judge Saheb asked the authority to verify from known astrologers whether that was true. Is not it offending. 
Whether one is Mangalik or not is not the issue when one decides the case of marital or personal disputes. Giving bail or no bail should be done purely on legal constitutional back ground but judge Saheb brought astrologers into the picture to decide the case. Is it a slip of tongue judgement or it is the trend because of the mediocre political affiliation that are ultimately working to get into the judiciary. Whatever is the issue, we can definitely not feel proud of such judgement.
This is the most unfortunate part when judgements are based not on the grounds of legality as per our constitution but more and more they are 'speeches' and 'personal beliefs' of the individual giving judgement. This is dangerous. 
How can a person can be held guilty by one judge and not so guilty by the other. Law and judgements have become highly subjective based on who is the judge and his political thoughts. Hence, it is important that critical issues should not be left to single judge benches otherwise we will see judgements like Female peacock getting impregnated by tears and not by mating with the male partner.
Whether it is law commission report or the Allahabad High Court judgement or any other court speaking against various provisions in law, they are matter of great concern as how Constitutional protection measures are being broken into pieces by those who need to protect it. I hope the Supreme Court will take note of it and issue necessary guidelines. Time has come for the Chief Justice of India to send a critical note to fellow judges of the high court regarding this so that respect and regard for the judiciary remain intact.
*Human rights defender 



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