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Criminalising Dissent: Sedition Laws in India


Mythili Mishra

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As protests against the new Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 grip the streets of India, the state has clamped down with all that is available in its coercive toolbox. One of these is the law of sedition. Amulya Leona, an activist, has been charged with this for shouting ‘Pakistan zindabad’ or ‘long live Pakistan’ at a rally and Dr Kafeel Khan for a speech against the law. This raises the question of why a twenty-first century democracy still criminalises speech as seditious, and whether it is time to reconsider imprisoning people for their political views. This article discusses the purpose of prohibiting sedition, then contextualises India’s experience by historicising its colonial past and quasi-authoritarian present. It concludes with a discussion on the law’s use as a political weapon, and questions whether it should be repealed or reformed to save Indian democracy from its rule of law crisis. 

How to Cite: Mishra, M., 2020. Criminalising Dissent: Sedition Laws in India. Rule of Law Journal, 1(1), pp.14–24.
Published on 13 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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