The future of sedition in India shouldn't be its past - particularly the past five years from 2014 to 2019. These five years had witnessed the nature of the dominance of sedition across the country, warranting India to act now and repeal the colonial-cum-draconian law. In a shocking revelation, a total of 326 cases were registered in the country under sedition between 2014 and 2019.
An overwhelming scale of sedition hasn't, however, affirmed that all the cases were fit to be charged with the sedition as only six cases out of 326 were convicted, which means that only these six cases were legitimate to invoke with the sedition charges. According to the data of the Union Home Ministry, a total of 326 cases were registered under the sedition law between 2014 and 2019, with the highest 54 cases in the BJP-ruling Assam.
Of these 326 cases, the charge sheets were filed in 141 cases and just six people were convicted for the offence. Out of the 54 sedition cases registered in Assam, the charge sheets were filed in 26 cases and the trials were completed in 25 cases. The data has revealed that there has been no single conviction in the state in any of the cases between the five-year period. Following Assam, Hemant Soren-led administration in Jharkhand had registered 40 cases under sedition in which charge sheets were filed in 29 cases and trials were completed in 16 cases and one case has been convicted.
In Haryana, 31 cases were registered under the sedition of which 19 cases had got charge sheets filed and one person has been convicted. Following Haryana, Kerala, Bihar, and Jammu and Kashmir had registered 25 cases each under the sedition. While Jammu and Kashmir had filed a charge sheet in three cases, Bihar and Kerala didn't file a charge sheet in any of the cases and no one was convicted with sedition in any of the three states between 2014 and 2019.
Karnataka had seen 22 sedition cases during the five-year period and the charge sheets were filed in 17 cases and the trial was completed in just one case. However, no one was convicted in any case in Karnataka. A total of 17 sedition cases were filed in Uttar Pradesh and eight in West Bengal during the same period. In Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, charge sheets were filed in eight cases and five cases respectively and no one was convicted in both the states. In Delhi, four sedition cases were registered between 2014 and 2019 but no charge sheet was filed in any case.
One sedition case was filed each in three states - Maharashtra, Punjab, and Uttarakhand. On the other hand, no sedition case was filed in the states and Union territories of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim, and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the period of five years. According to the data, among the six convicted, two were sentenced in 2018 and one each in 2019, 2017, 2016, and 2014.
The Home Ministry's data has shown that the country had seen more sedition cases in 2019 with 93 cases, followed by 70 in 2018, 51 in 2017, 47 in 2014, 35 in 2016, and 30 in 2015. The data has come days after the Supreme Court has asked the Union government why it was not repealing the sedition used by the British to silence leaders like Mahatma Gandhi to suppress the freedom movement. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the rate of sedition cases increased by 160% in recent times, while the conviction rate fell from 33.3% (2016) to 3.3% (2019).