The Supreme Court has fixed on Tuesday the final hearing on the matter of constitutionality of referring the sedition law to a larger Bench of five or seven judges. It has, accordingly, asked the Centre to file its affidavit latest by Monday.
"Both sides have to file their written submissions by Saturday while the Centre needs to file its counter affidavit on merit by Monday," a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said. Two other judges on the Bench were Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, told the court that the sedition law must go since it is contrary to the idea of free India as every day a journalist or somebody else is sent to jail. The law pertaining to Section 124-A of the IPC is unconstitutional, he added.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, sought an adjournment of the hearing since the draft response on sedition law has been prepared by the lawyers and it requires approval by the competent authority. He said the government is taking a holistic view of the law.
The Supreme Court said it will hear the matter on Tuesday as to whether the petitions against the constitutionality of sedition law be referred to a larger Bench.
Mehta said: "I am conscious we (the Central government) were directed to file a reply on the sedition issue and there were two reasons why we didn't file the reply.
"We are waiting for an approval of the competent authority, that's why the delay," he said, without elaborating which is the competent authority.
On the Bench asking whether the sedition law should be diluted, Attorney General K K Venugopal said: "The law should be taken care of, not removed and misused. The Supreme Court should pass a guideline regarding the sedition law." He said it was up to the court to fix a date for hearing.