Reading Time:5mins On July 24, 2019, the Lok Sabha has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019. This bill, if made into a law, will replace the already existing Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Ever since its presentation in the lower house, this bill has been a subject of controversy. This bill is considered by some to be draconian in nature.
According to Amnesty International, the act once amended can designate any individual a terrorist, thus violating international human rights laws and opening the floodgate of harassment of the Human Rights defenders and activists.
Recent happenings across the country against individual rights and free speech have questioned the relevance and the validity of certain laws such as Sedition law, defamation law, and the AFSPA. Sedition law has already been discussed here. In this article, we are going to discuss the defamation law in India, the associated issues and the way forward. AFSPA will be discussed in the next article.
It has been claimed that criminalization of defamation has a harsh effect on the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 and hence demands have been raised to make it as a civil offence. However, the Supreme Court in its 2016 judgement approved the constitutional validity of criminal defamation laws such as IPC sections 499 and 500 which led to widespread criticism across all political circles.
Reading Time:5mins With the Lok Sabha elections near, it is really important that Indians have access to credible and trustworthy information before they vote. The issue is that many do not feel they do.Notably, after the Pulwama attack, social media and messaging apps had overflown with false and deceptive news content as people were trying to understand the horrible violence.This reflects the extent of the fake news menace and the threat it poses to the Indian democracy.
Recently, the Delhi Police filed a charge sheet against 10 people, including student leaders in a sedition case for allegedly raising “anti-national slogans” during an event on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in February 2016.
In addition to this, as many as 12 Aligarh Muslim University students, including the university’s students’ union chief, were recently booked under sedition charges after a complaint of alleged assault was filed by an ABVP member.
In another instance where an Assamese scholar and two others were slapped with sedition charges for remarks made against the proposed citizenship law.
These fit a disturbing trend of many incidents in recent times where “misguided” people have been termed “anti-national” and has filed charges of sedition.
Notably, the law commission is in the process of revisiting the section 124A of Indian Penal Code and calls for a thorough reconsideration and presents the different issues with respect to it before the public for a national debate.