Classic legacy of colonialism, or a necessary legal implement to protect the nation-state from threats to its sovereignty? These are the seemingly competing perspectives on offer as the Indian legal system grapples with the question of what to do with the offence of sedition. At a time when petitions have been pending before the Supreme Court for more than a year, in which the Court suggested that it viewed the offence as an unnecessary colonial legacy, the Government-appointed Law Commission has published a report recommending retention of the offence and has published a draft penal code which claims to do away with sedition in theory by seemingly retaining it in substance. [Additional supplementary materials available @ MCLR+ Resources.]
A discussion on sedition in the Indian context offers a convenient and contemporary entry to discuss what are, ultimately, questions at the very heart of the criminal law enterprise in modern nation states. How should the law decide where to draw the line and restrict individual autonomy which the state is designed to foster and protect, when its expression supposedly threatens the existence of the nation state itself? [See also Abhinav Sekhri, “A Moment of Reckoning for the Sedition Offense in India,” MCLR+ (Sept. 24, 2023) available at https://crimlrev.net/2023/09/24/a-moment-of-reckoning-for-the-sedition-offense-in-india-abhinav-sekhri/]
October 2, 2023 @ 12:15-1:45pm (EDT)
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Abhinav Sekhri, India (moderator)
Abhinav Sekhri is a legal writer and lawyer practicing in New Delhi, India. He specializes in criminal law, evidence, and procedure.
Gautam Bhatia, India/Kenya
Gautam Bhatia is a constitutional lawyer and scholar of comparative constitutional law.
Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff, Malawi
Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff is a human rights activist, lawyer, and legal researcher. She founded and directs the Gender and Justice Unit and has worked in four countries on topics ranging from HIV to gender-based violence to legal empowerment.
Rocío Lorca Ferreccio, Chile
Rocío Lorca is Associate Professor of Law & Director of Research at University of Chile’s School of Law. Her research focuses on the philosophy of punishment and the interaction between criminal justice and other spheres of justice.
Iñigo Ortiz de Urbina, Spain
Íñigo Ortiz de Urbina is criminal law professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (on leave, working for the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union). He specializes in white collar and corporate crime, economic analysis of crime policy, and criminal law making.