THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 06 February 2020 (Bidar Sedition Case (Indian Express))

Bidar Sedition Case (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Section124A of the Indian Penal Code
Mains level: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure


  • Police are pursuing a complaint about a play performed by children of the age 9 to 12 of a private school in Bidar district of Karnataka.
  • This case is an instance of the misuse of the sedition provision under Section124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Sedition law:

  • Section 124A of the IPC which was included in 1870 deals with sedition.
  • It states that whoever brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India shall be punished.
  • The punishment varies from imprisonment up to 3 years to a life term and fine. Sedition is a non-bailable offence.

What were the actions taken?

  • The police have taken action for an allegedly seditious play against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
  • A teacher who supervised the performance and the parent of a child who added words to the script of the play were arrested.
  • The primary school children are subjected to sustained harassment with utter disregard for child-friendly legislations.
  • These actions are clear case of misuse of the power to arrest, as it is merely a verbal offence and doesn’t require custodial interrogation.
  • The police have deemed the opposition to the amendment act as something against the state.

The observed trend:

  • A Supreme Court Bench observed that words such as ‘anti-national’ and ‘sedition’ were being bandied about loosely these days.
  • The incident in Bidar serves as an example of this trend.
  • This incident also confirms that the law is often used to silence political comment on matters deemed sensitive by the rulers.

How Sedition should be invoked?

  • The Sedition has been invoked to portray political dissent as promotion of disaffection.
  • But, it can’t be invoked without the essential ingredients for invoking the section, namely, an imminent threat to public order and incitement to take up arms or resort to violence.
  • This is a fact that is being forgotten often.
  • The section itself has an explanation that nothing that seeks to get the government to change its policy by lawful means is sedition.

Way ahead:

  • The police system believes that everyone who is suspected of committing an offence is to be arrested
  • This belief is something that needs to be changed.
  • To conduct the rules to punish the police personnel who violate the constitutional guarantees of free speech and personal liberty in an arbitrary way should be strengthened.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Union Budget 2020-21, consider the following statements:
1. Rs 35,600 crore is allocated for nutrition-related programmes for the year 2020-21.
2. Task force will be appointed to examine issue about age of girl entering motherhood.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both
(d) None

Answer: C
Mains Questions:

Q.1) How Sedition should be invoked in Bidar Sedition Case?