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New Bill to replace IPC throws out sedition law; to punish separatism and secession

'Whoever wages war against the Government of India, or attempts to wage such war, or abets the waging of such war, shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine,' Union Home Minister Amit Shah said.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 11 August 2023, 15:33 IST
Last Updated : 11 August 2023, 15:33 IST

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The new Bill to repeal the Indian Penal Code (IPC), for the first time, defines crimes like secession, armed insurgency, subversive activities, separatism, crimes like challenging the unity, sovereignty and integrity of India, and allows the confiscation of property by authorities, while provisions of sedition is being repealed.

Introducing the Bill in Lok Sabha, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said India is a democracy where everyone has the right to speak and there is no place for sedition in its statutes. At the same time, he said the new Bill provides a definition for terrorism.

"Whoever wages war against the Government of India, or attempts to wage such war, or abets the waging of such war, shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine," he said. Those conspiring to wage war against the government or those who collect arms or ammunition will face imprisonment for life.

According to the new Bill, a terrorist act is defined as an act committed by a person in India or any foreign country with the intention to threaten the unity, integrity and security of India, to intimidate the general public or a segment, or to disturb public order.

It could be done "using bombs, dynamite or any other explosive substance or inflammable material or firearms or other lethal weapons or poison or noxious gases or other chemicals or any other substance (whether biological or otherwise) hazardous in nature in such a manner so as to create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear, to cause death or serious bodily harm to any person, or endangers a person’s life".

While proposing to delete provisions of sedition, the new Bill also says, anyone who purposely or knowingly, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or by electronic communication or by use of financial mean, or otherwise, excites or attempts to excite secession or armed rebellion or subversive activities, or encourages feelings of separatist activities or endangers sovereignty or unity and integrity of India, or indulges in or commits any such act shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

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Published 11 August 2023, 15:33 IST

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