The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing in January next year, for a series of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition provision in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The court had previously rejected the central government's request to await Parliament's decision on the proposed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill 2023, which aims to replace the IPC.
The court asserted that the new law would have a "prospective application" and would govern cases filed after its implementation.
During the recent hearing, the petitioner's counsel, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, urged that the pleas be listed before a seven-judge bench.
Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud stated that he would form an appropriate bench for the case.
Advocates Prasanna S and Pooja Dhar were appointed as nodal counsels to facilitate the compilation of case laws and statutory materials before the hearing.
The Supreme Court had previously indicated that if the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, which proposes the repeal of the sedition law and introduces a new provision with a broader definition of the offense, becomes law, it cannot be applied retrospectively.
In an earlier hearing, the court clarified that while the centre is not planning to delete the provision, it aims to present it in a new form.
The court emphasised its obligation to assess the constitutionality of section 124A, noting that its validity was previously tested in the 1962 judgment of Kedar Nath Singh versus State of Bihar, based on a challenge that it was ultra vires to Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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