In May 2022 the Supreme Court of India initiated a review of the nation's laws against sedition, staying ongoing legal proceedings and calling in particular for a reconsideration of Section 124a of the Indian Penal Code. First introduced by the jurist and colonial administrator Sir James Fitzjames Stephen in his 1870 revision of the code and revised several times thereafter, Section 124a explicitly criminalizes the use of seditious language and images by focusing on their power to provoke negative emotional reactions. “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise,” the law reads, “brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards Her Majesty or the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or any shorter term, to which fine may be added” (Donagh 71). In the...

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