Minister of State for Home Affairs Kishan Reddy said in the Rajya Sabha that the government has constituted a committee for criminal law reforms. This includes treason and they have sought suggestions from various parties in this regard.
Reddy was answering supplementary questions during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha. He said that in2019, India made 96 arrests under the sedition law (section 124A of the Act). The courts also convicted two people.
He also said that the government has sought suggestions from non-governmental organizations and other organizations besides the Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors of Union Territories. The government will also consider amending the sedition law after getting suggestions. He said that this law is an old law. Earlier the parliament made amendments in 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1955 during the Congress rule.
Answering if the government would consider amending the sedition law, he said that we are going to take a big step. The government has formed a new committee for criminal law reform under the chairmanship of the Chancellor of the National Law University.
Amid the opposition’s criticism of the rate of conviction being low in treason cases, Reddy said that the Center has no role in such cases. He said that the state governments register such cases. Reddy said that the Center does not give any direction to the states in this regard. The Government of India has not registered any wrong case against any person or institution.
Answer to questions about the fake lawsuits
Many opposition members said that in 2019 only two cases were convicted. Hence, the opposition questioned whether the government was filing fake cases. Reddy said that after the Parliament passed the amended Citizenship Act (CAA), people made various comments during the agitation against it. And they had full freedom. Similarly, during the current farmer movement, many people have made statements in which the government did not intervene.
Reddy said that in all the 96 cases mentioned, the decision of the court has not come. He said that many cases are in various stages. He said that some cases are under investigation stage. Meanwhile, in some cases police has just filed the charge sheet, while in some cases hearing is going on.
He said that this government has tried to include sedition cases in the figures. However Congress government hid the treason law figures, he alleged. He said that the government has commitments to democracy and freedom of the press. Any person can speak within the limits of the constitution. The government does not create any hindrance in it.