Strong criticism of government isn’t defamatory or seditious

Strong criticism of government isn’t defamatory or seditious

Strong criticism of government isn’t defamatory or seditious

The Supreme Court recently asserted that making a strong criticism of the government is not defamatory or seditious. This statement came in the wake of recent events where people were booked and ill-treated for speaking poorly of the government. Arbitrary arrest of people and charges of sedition have often been used to silent the voices that try to uncover truth or criticize the government for whatever reasons.

All authorities, including the police have been directed to follow the constitutional rule of the SC and take actions only when there is an incitement of violence or threat to the lives and peace of the nation. Has the SC taken the right decision by scrapping the sedition charges against the ill speakers of the government?


1. Good criticism: Time and again those in power need to be reminded that they are being watched, their actions scrutinized with hawk’s eyes. When they overstep their limits of using power for their selfish intents and purposes that is where strong criticism from the opposition or common people comes into play. Booking them under sedition was used to silent their voices.

2. Sedition has always been debated: Right from the era of the British rule, to after independence and to the present time, sedition has always been used to impose tyranny over those who took the courage to raise their voices against the evil penetrating in the country. It has been long due that the charges of defamation and seditious be given a second thought.

3. Not inciting violence: Peaceful protests, coming from people or journalists have been given the pretext of trying to incite violence. The truth is that even though they do not intent to provoke aggression, the actions of the government against them angers the common people and supporters to the extent that it goes on to become troublesome clash between the authority and people.

4. Right to speak: Freedom of speech, the most understated as well as the most overrated clause of our time is actually meant to provide shelter to those who feels free to condemn the acts of the government. They have every right to question, criticize, and slam the actions that are doing harm to them in any way. It is the duty of the government to pay heed to their pleas and complaints instead of turning a deaf ear followed by charges of sedition to divert the attention.

5. Sheltering free minds: Cartoonists, writers, journalists, civil rights activists, social workers, student union leaders, actors, comedians, poets, and so many other talented people who took the courage to speak against the unjust actions of the government of their times were booked under sedition and the laws enforced, providing no safeguard at all.

6. Kedar Nath case: SC has maintained that the epic provisions mentioned under the Kedar Nath case was being violated time and again. All authorities have been instructed that any case of sedition shall now be seen in the lights of the judgment provided under the Kedar Nath case.


1. Words indeed are mightier than swords: Words, when suitably played with, have the power to construct as well as destruct. Freedom of speech is often misused to spill venom, the kind that provokes the insight of people to lead them to any extent of extremism including breaking of law and order. It must be noted that the most lethal of wars were incited initially with words against the government.

2. Strong criticism can be defamatory: When your words know no bounds of etiquette, it can get spiteful and defamatory. Cartoonists can easily defame a certain someone with an illicit caricature that shows him in the worst of lights. Bad publicity when done with calculated intentions of harming the public image of a political can mean an end to his career.

3. It gets up and personal: Politicians live under the scrutinizing eyes of the media all the time. Time and again their personal lives are exposed, studied, trapped in cameras and judged. It is thought that they shouldn’t have a life at all. Who married whom and divorced later and if he wasn’t a good family man he isn’t fit to run the government, are all accusations that are meant to defame for no reason at all.

Scrapping the sedition charges for strong criticism is a good move by the SC. The added instruction that charges could only be booked when the critic is inciting violence that could endanger the lives of people and destruct the peace of the nation or a state or a locality. This pretty much covers all that is essential.
Post your comment


  • RE: Strong criticism of government isn’t defamatory or seditious -Barkha (09/07/16)
  • Any government move can be criticized and SC rightly asserted that criticism of government isn't defamatory or seditious. In fact criticism bring about best from a ruling government. Filing defamatory case and leveling sedition charges have been used to silent the voices. These voices sometime spotlight unjust actions of government. Criticism and dissent voices are the ingredients of democracy. They can't be suppressed. But at the same time strong actions should be taken against those who incites violence and destruct the peace of nation. Defamation law is also very important to protect public figures from accusations that are meant to defame their images. There are many instances when people are defamed publicly for no reason. Defamation laws put a check against such intentions.