“I feel it is the right move, keeping in view that the vacations are coming and they would not have been able to decide (before the vacations)," former Supreme Court judge Deepak Gupta said regarding the order passed by the top court on Wednesday, 11 May, in the clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition law.
But Justice (retd) Gupta also told The Quint that he would have been happier had the Supreme Court decided on the law, "but having accepted the request of the government, I think the Supreme Court's order is absolutely correct."
WHAT DID THE SUPREME COURT SAY?
The Chief Justice of India-led bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it would be appropriate "to put the provision (sedition) on abeyance" and "not to use this provision till further re-examination of the sedition law is over".
The court has until further orders:
Urged the central and state governments to refrain from registering any FIR invoking Section 124A of the IPC (sedition)
Ruled that if any fresh case is registered, the appropriate parties are at liberty to approach courts for relief
Said that those who have already been booked under the sedition law and are languishing in jails can approach the courts for bail
Directed that all appeals and proceedings under Section 124A be kept in abeyance
'Excellent', 'Historic': Appreciation Pours in for the Order
Former Patna High Court Judge and currently Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court, Anjana Prakash hailed the top court order as being "excellent".
“I think it is an excellent order which the Supreme Court has thought fit to pass. It is good that they did not stay any order on account of the government submitting that they are reviewing 124A. It is a very proactive step, and is in tune with the time."Former Patna High Court Judge and (currently) Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court Anjana Prakash
Prakash also expressed appreciation of the fact that the top court had not just urged the government to refrain from filing fresh cases under the sedition law but "had also taken into consideration the pending cases".
"The CJI himself had pointed out that the sedition law is not in tune with the present times and I entirely agree with him," Prakash added.
"In a democracy, where does a sedition law have any place? I don’t know why it was kept and it was meaningless. The worst is that it was being selectively used. There was more misuse than rightful use of it."Anjana Prakash
Meanwhile, Supreme Court advocates Prashant Bhushan and Jaiveer Shergill too hailed the order as "historic", "welcome" and "balanced".
While there was appreciation for the order, there also emerged some concern from legal experts, who pointed out that there was still a possibility that FIRs will continue to be registered under section 124A.
"Those accused of the offence will still have to approach the courts for quashing/staying of investigation," lawyer Radhika Roy observed, while another lawyer Paras Nath Singh pointed out that "there isn't even an express stay of the provision (124A)".