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124-A: Lahore High Court strikes down sedition law

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LAHORE: Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday annulled Section 124-A, of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), dealing with sedition.

The order of the court came on a set of petitions filed by citizens challenging the sedition law on grounds that the government used it against its rivals.

Justice Karim pronounced the judgment today which was reserved on the petitions of Selman Abuzar Niazi and others.

The petitions had challenged the registration of cases under sedition provisions against those who spoke against the government.

It was argued in the petition that the sedition act was enacted in 1860 which is a sign of British colonial rule.

It added that this law was used for slaves under which a case can be registered on anyone’s request.

It was stated in the petition that the Constitution of Pakistan gives every citizen the right to freedom of expression but still, Section 124-A is imposed for making speeches against the rulers.

According to the petitioners, Section 124-A of sedition is being used for political purposes and should be struck down.

What is Section 124-A of PPC?

Sedition: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Federal or Provincial Government established by law shall be punished with imprisonment for life to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.

Explanation 1: The expression disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.

Explanation 2: Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

Explanation 3: Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

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