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Tuesday April 23, 2024

LHC seeks govt reply to plea seeking compliance with sedition law order

By Numan Wahab
April 28, 2023

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday sought the federal government’s reply to a plea seeking compliance with the court’s sedition law order.

Previously, Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court had annulled colonial-era Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), dealing with sedition.Section 124-A of the PPC was commonly known as the “sedition law and was introduced in 1860 to suppress political opponents.

In Thursday’s hearing, the counsel for the petitioner argued that the LHC had struck down the sedition law, but the government is still not complying with the court’s order. It was argued that, despite the court order, FIRs are being registered against political leaders under the said section.

The court, after hearing the petitioner, has sought a reply from the federal government in this regard. Section 124-A of the PPC says: “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 a fine may be added, or with imprisonment that may extend to three years, to which a fine may be added, or with a fine.”

In the petition seeking the abolishment of the law, it was argued 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 at anyone’s request.

The petitioner argued 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.