Sedition is a serious charge. But merely because someone criticises the Government or its policies or says something contrary to what a Minister says, it will not amount to sedition. In the case of former MP and actress Divya Spandana alias Ramya, merely because she has contradicted Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in his statement, can this be ever considered to be seditious? And by the way if Pakistan is hell, why did Prime Minister Narendra Modi and more recently Home Minister Rajnath Singh visit that so called hell.
How does the statement by the former MP amount to sedition? She has merely opined that Pakistan is not hell and that the people there are of a friendly nature. Her statement can never, even prima facie be construed to comprehend the requirements of Section 124-A IPC to mean sedition.
Sedition, in my view, is not merely contradicting the Government – else all members of Opposition would be booked under this section if they dared oppose the Government. It has to be at a higher level where the words or acts bring hatred or contempt or excited or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government. There is nothing which she has done against the government. And the statement of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that “Pakistan is hell” is not an act of the Government. It is his personal opinion. Like any person may have his or her own opinion, the former MP surely has a different opinion and this cannot be termed as seditious. When she has not done or said anything with reference to the Government, no charge of sedition can be brought against her. And if high-handedly brought, it will definitely not stand the test of law.
The law on sedition is prone to be misused to settle political scores and classic examples of such gross misuse are one too many. It is very unfortunate that freedom of speech which forms the bedrock of our constitutional scheme is now sought to be curtailed by misusing such penal provisions.