Union Home Minister Amit Shah that a new Bill will “completely repeal the offence of sedition” – something that human rights groups have long demanded.
Except this is not precisely what’s going to happen.
The minister announced three new bills – Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill – which aim to replace the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act, respectively. They will be sent to a parliamentary standing committee for approval.
Shah said they were prepared over four years and will focus on “justice instead of punishment”. They will also ensure “police can’t exploit their powers”.
Penalties for sedition are covered under section 124A of the penal code. But this is section 150 of the new Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, dealing with “offences against the state”.
The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill also includes the death penalty as punishment for murders by a mob:
Several lawyers and journalists have already flagged concerns with the new bills.
It should be noted that other laws like UAPA and NSA will continue.
Watch this video on Newslaundry on everything that ails our colonial-era sedition law.