New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that out of the 96 people arrested for sedition in 2019, only two were convicted for the crime, while 29 were acquitted.
According to data with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), uploaded on its website, 2019 saw nearly 25 per cent increase in the number of sedition cases and 41 per cent increase in the arrests since the previous year.
A total of 93 cases of sedition were reported in 2019, with 96 arrests and charge sheets filed in 76 cases, as against 70 cases filed in 2018, 56 arrests and 27 charge sheets.
Out of the 56 arrested for sedition in 2018, as many as 11 were acquitted and no convictions were secured, the data showed.
The total number of cases filed under the ‘Offences Against the State’ category, however, went down in 2019 as compared to 2018, according to the data.
In 2019, a total of 7,569 cases were filed under this category as against 8,563 cases in 2018.
The category includes cases under sections of sedition, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Official Secrets Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, imputation, assertion, prejudicial to national integration, among others.
When AIADMK leader K. Vijaykumar asked if acquittals in sedition cases happen due to a weak law and if steps are being taken to strengthen the sedition law, Minister of State (Home) G. Kishan Reddy said, “Amendment of laws is an ongoing process.”
Increase in cases under UAPA
According to the NCRB data, the year 2019 also saw a rise in registration of cases under the UAPA and arrests.
In 2019, as many as 1,226 cases were reported under the UAPA as against 1,182 in 2018.
The data showed that 1,948 people were arrested under the UAPA in 2019, with zero conviction, and 64 acquittals.
In 2018, according to the data, 1,421 people were arrested under UAPA, out of which 68 were acquitted and only four convictions were secured.
Moreover, charge sheets were filed in 175 cases of UAPA in 2018, as against 485 cases in 2019.
‘No data on basis of religion, race’
In the Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Syed Nasir Hussain asked for a break-up of the total arrests under UAPA who are from minority, SC, ST, OBC communities and how many of them were women and transgender people.
In reply, Reddy said no such data is maintained.
“Total number of the persons arrested and the persons convicted in the years from 2016 to 2019 under the UAPA in the country are 5,922 and 132, respectively. NCRB does not maintain this data on the basis of religion, race, caste or gender.”
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