Chapter VI: Of Offences Against the State (Section 121 – 130)

Section 121: Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India.—

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.


Section 121A: Conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121.

Whoever within or without India conspires to commit any of the offences punishable by section 121, or conspires to overawe, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, the Central Government or any State Government, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation.To constitute a conspiracy under this section, it is not necessary that any act or illegal omission shall take place in pursuance thereof.


Section 122: Collecting arms, etc., with intention of waging war against the Government of India.

Whoever collects men, arms or ammunition or otherwise prepares to wage war with the intention of either waging or being prepared to wage war against the Government of India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Section 123: Concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war.

Whoever by any act, or by any illegal omission, conceals the existence of a design to wage war against the Government of India, intending by such concealment to facilitate, or knowing it to be likely that such concealment will facilitate, the waging of such war, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Section 124: Assaulting President, Governor, etc., with intent to compel or restrain the exercise of any lawful power.

Whoever, with the intention of inducing or compelling the President of India, or Governor of any State, to exercise or refrain from exercising in any manner any any of the lawful powers of such President or Governor, assaults or wrongfully restrains, or attempts wrongfully to restrain, or overawes, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, or attempts so to overawe, such President or Governor, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Section 124A: Sedition.

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 Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.

Explanation 1.The expression “disaffection” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.

Explanation 2.Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

Explanation 3.Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.


Section 125: Waging war against any Asiatic Power in alliance with the Government of India.

Whoever wages war against the Government of any Asiatic Power in alliance or at peace with the Government of India or attempts to wage such war, or abets the waging of such war, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.


Section 126: Committing depredation on territories of Power at peace with the Government of India.—

Whoever commits depredation, or makes preparations to commit depredation, on the territories of any Power in alliance or at peace with the Government of India, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine and to forfeiture of any property used or intended to be used in committing such depredation, or acquired by such depredation.


Section 127: Receiving property taken by war or depredation mentioned in sections 125 and 126.

Whoever receives any property knowing the same to have been taken in the commission of any of the offences mentioned in sections 125 and 126, shall be punished with imprisonment of either  description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine and to forfeiture of the property so received.


Section 128: Public servant voluntarily allowing prisoner of state or war to escape.

Whoever, being a public servant and having the custody of any State prisoner or prisoner of war, voluntarily allows such prisoner to escape from any place in which such prisoner is confined, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Section 129: Public servant negligently suffering such prisoner to escape.

Whoever, being a public servant and having the custody of any State prisoner or prisoner of war, negligently suffers such prisoner to escape from any place of confinement in which such prisoner is confined, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Section 130: Aiding escape of, rescuing or harbouring such prisoner.

Whoever knowingly aids or assists any State prisoner or prisoner of war in escaping from lawful custody, or rescues or attempts to rescue  any such prisoner, or harbours or conceals any such prisoner who has escaped from lawful custody, or offers or attempts to offer any resistance to the recapture of such prisoner, shall be punished with 2[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation.A State prisoner or prisoner of war, who is permitted to be at large on his parole within certain limits in 3[India], is said to escape from lawful custody if he goes beyond the limits within which he is allowed to be at large.


IMPORTANT CASE LAWS

1. Sedition

Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar, 1962 Supp (2) SCR 769 : AIR 1962 SC 955: ” ……….A citizen has a right to say or write whatever he likes about the Government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the Government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder. The Court has, therefore, the duty cast upon it of drawing a clear line of demarcation between the ambit of a citizen’s fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and the power of the legislature to impose reasonable restrictions on that guaranteed right in the interest of, inter alia, security of the State and public order………..”

“………………….There can be no doubt that apart from the provisions of clause (2) of Article 19, Sections 124-A and 505 are clearly violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. But then we have to see how far the saving clause, namely, clause (2) of Article 19 protects the sections aforesaid. Now, as already pointed out, in terms of the amended clause (2), quoted above, the expression “in the interest of … public order” are words of great amplitude and are much more comprehensive then the expression “for the maintenance of”, as observed by this Court in the case of Virendra v. State of Punjab [(1958) SCR 308 at p. 317] . Any law which is enacted in the interest of public order may be saved from the vice of constitutional invalidity. If, on the other hand, we were to hold that even without any tendency to disorder or intention to create disturbance of law and order, by the use of words written or spoken which merely create disaffection or feelings of enmity against the Government, the offence of sedition is complete, then such an interpretation of the sections would make them unconstitutional in view of Article 19(1)(a) read with clause (2). It is well settled that if certain provisions of law construed in one way would make them consistent with the Constitution, and another interpretation would render them unconstitutional, the Court would lean in favour of the former construction. The provisions of the sections read as a whole, along with the explanations, make it reasonably clear that the sections aim at rendering penal only such activities as would be intended, or have a tendency, to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence. As already pointed out, the explanations appended to the main body of the section make it clear that criticism of public measures or comment on Government action, however strongly worded, would be within reasonable limits and would be consistent with the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression. It is only when the words, written or spoken, etc. which have the pernicious tendency or intention of creating public disorder or disturbance of law and order that the law steps in to prevent such activities in the interest of public order……”


 

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