The Central government has filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking extension of time to files its response to the plea challenging Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalises sedition..The government has told the top court that a draft of the response is ready but it is awaiting confirmation from the competent authority. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli had on April 27 last week, ordered the government to file its response by April 30. The bench had also directed that the case be listed for final disposal on May 5 while making it clear that no adjournment will be granted..The Court is seized of a batch petitions challenging the constitutionality of Section 124A.The Supreme Court had, while issuing notice in the matter in July 2021, questioned the Central government on whether the law was needed 75 years after independence.The Court had highlighted that provision was used by the British to quell the voice of Indian freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak before the country gained independence.It is now being misused when someone does not like the views of another person and there is no accountability from the executive, CJI Ramana had observed."Dispute is it is a colonial law and was used by British and suppress freedoms and used against Mahatma Gandhi Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Is this law still needed after 75 years of independence? Our concern is misuse of the law and no accountability of the executive," CJI Ramana had said.The challenge to the provision came about after two journalists, Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla were charged with sedition in April last year for posts and cartoons published on social media platforms.They then moved the Supreme Court challenging the provision on the ground that it infringes upon an individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a)..Thereafter, a plea by Major General SG Vombatkere sought a fresh examination of Section 124A unconstrained by the upholding of the provision in the 1962 judgment of the top court in Kedar Nath Singh v Union of India.It stated that a statute criminalising expression based on unconstitutionally vague definitions of ‘disaffection towards Government’ etc. "is an unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right to free expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and causes constitutionally impermissible ‘Chilling Effect’ on speech."One of the intervention applications by Foundation of Media Professionals stated that the law of sedition is a colonial dictate which was devised to "crush the independence movement"."The tendency of the British to ensure complete allegiance and compliance of the Indian citizens not only in action but also in thought, is blatantly evident from the evolution of the law on sedition. It is relevant to note, however, that the Indian courts have largely crusaded against regarding every unpleasant word as 'actionable', championing the cause of the media," the plea stated.