Senior Journalist Sashi Kumar, the founder of Asianet and the current Chairman of Asian School of Journalism, has approached the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the offence of sedition under Section 124A of the Indan Penal Code.
On April 30, a Bench led by Justice UU Lalit had issued notice on the Writ Petition Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and another v. Union Of India, Kumar also filed an intervention application in the Writ Petition.
The counsel, Advocate, Kaleeswaram Raj, Nishe Rajen Shonkar and Thulasi K Raj, applied Sahi Kumar’s and brought light to the matter that the members debated in the Constitutional Assembly like Jawaharlal Nehru, M Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, KM Munshi etc spoke at lengths about the “ obnoxious” nature of this offence which was used by the colonial rulers to suppress the freedom movement.
There is a need to revisit the verdict of the Kedarnath Case which upheld Section 124A after reading down in the light of the latest developments in free speech. This provision creates a ‘ chilling effect on free speech ’ as it suffers from the defects of ‘ vagueness’ and ‘ overbreadth’.
“.. the law is not a measure simply aimed at the purported objective. It goes beyond the aim it seeks to achieve. Also, alternate legal provisions and laws in the Penal Code itself exist including inherent vagueness of the terms used in the law, the chilling effect of the law etc were not correctly appreciated by the court. The impact of the impugned law on rights, in particular, the rights to equality and freedom of speech is perverse”, the application says.
Sashi Kumar seeks permission of the Cout to place on record certain ‘ necessary materials, reports, academic articles and empirical data concerning the subject matter”.
On July 12, the Supreme Court will consider the main writ petition.