Meaning of Sedition

Last updated on May 28, 2024

When anyone tries to bring hatred or contempt or excites disaffection towards the government, they have committed an act of sedition. An act of sedition has to be done through one of the following ways:

  • Words (spoken or written).
  • Visual representation such as signs, videos, pictures or cartoons.

The result of an act of sedition should be violence or public disorder or an attempt to cause violence/public disorder.1

The Supreme Court has held in various judgments that the law of sedition is only applicable where:

  • A person causes violence, or
  • A person encourages people to create violence.2

For example, Shri Rampal, the leader of a village, gives a speech where he asks the people to rebel against the Government so that they can secede from India. This leads to a lot of hatred against the Government along with public disorder and riots. Shri Rampal would be held liable for an act of sedition.

  1. Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar, A.I.R. 1962 S.C. 955. []
  2. Section 124A, Indian Penal Code, 1860. []

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Related Resources

Acts which are not sedition

Criticisms of government policies and their actions, criticisms in good faith or to improve the functioning of the Government do not amount to sedition, as your right to freedom of speech and expression under the Constitution protects these acts.

Sedition and Dissatisfaction towards the Government

An act is seditious if your act results in people feeling hatred or contempt towards the Government. A person commits sedition if they use either spoken or written words or gestures, aimed at encouraging people to disobey or resist the government.

Seditious Text

You have a right to write about the Government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as you do not incite people to violence against the Government or don’t do with an intent of creating public disorder.

Punishment for Sedition

The punishment for sedition can be jail time upto 3 years and/or a fine, or jail time for life and/or a fine, or a fine.

Confiscation of Seditious Material

In a scenario where you are being charged for an act of sedition, every copy that exists of the newspaper, book or document which contains the seditious text or material can be taken away by the Government.

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