The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central government whether it can issue a direction to the States to keep in abeyance all pending sedition cases till the government's exercise of reviewing Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is complete [SG Vombatkere vs Union of India]..A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to clarify its stance by tomorrow. The Central government had submitted an affidavit before the Court yesterday stating that it has decided to re-examine and reconsider Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalises the offence of Sedition."We have perused the affidavit by the respondent (Central government). Meanwhile to protect the interest of the people already booked under 124A as well as the future of this provision, SG will take instructions whether cases can be kept in abeyance till further time till reconsideration is over," the Court said in its order. The matter will be heard again tomorrow. The Court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the law is currently being heard by a three-judge Bench.When the matter was taken up for hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought deferment of hearing citing the fact the Central government is reexamining the provision. Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal opposed the same stating that the Court should proceed to decide the validity irrespective of whether the government is examining the provision or not. "This court cannot wait for another jurisdiction. It is for the judiciary to consider constitutional or not," he said. The CJI asked the SG on how much time the government would take to complete the exercise. "I won't able to give an accurate time frame. The process has started. Please see tenor and spirit of affidavit," the SG said. The bench then highlighted the misuse of the provision. "Now Mr Mehta there are concerns that this is being misused. AG himself had said chanting hanuman chalisa is leading to such cases," the CJI said. The SG said that filing of FIRs is by the States."These filing of FIRs etc is by State government. The first limb of 124A is to protect sovereignty and integrity of the nation. Tomorrow someone can say this part of India is not a part anymore. When there is misuse there are constitutional remedies," SG Mehta submitted.The bench then asked whether the Centre can issue directions to States to keep all sedition proceedings in abeyance till the Union government completes its exercise of reviewing the provision. "You complete this task in three months or four months, but till such period, why don't you direct the states that matters under 124A be kept in abeyance till the Centre finishes the process of reconsideration," Justice Kant asked. "It would be hazardous to say that in future do not apply this penal provision. I don't think in the history of the country that a penal law has not been permitted to be used," the SG responded. "Why as Central government, you don't indicate the states that since you are applying your mind to it, not to take action under sedition law," remarked Justice Kohli. "I can discuss with the government and there can be a guidelines," said SG. "If something serious happens then other penal provisions can take care of it, it is not like law enforcement agencies will be helpless," Justice Kant weighed in."In the Vinod Dua judgment, guidelines were laid down how Section 124A can be meaningfully used," SG maintained. .The bench eventually asked SG to take instructions on this aspect and respond tomorrow.