New Delhi: After the arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi under sedition charges, it has become important to understand what is and can be construed as sedition and how it is different from treason.
Sedition is an overt subversive act which leads to incitement against status quo or authority or order. It is a challenge to the establishment. It may be a book, a painting, an idea, a speech, pretty much anything that can act as a vehicle of an anti-establishment idea.
Treason, on the other hand, involves colluding with anti-national forces in terms of providing material support to people or groups who work against the idea of one's nation.
So sedition is against a government in power where as treason is violation of one's allegiance to one's country or sovereign. Sedition threatens a government or individuals in power and treason threatens the entire country with all its people
However, in many societies the differences between the two have become blurred and sedition has been closely linked to acts of terrorism and public safety violation.
It is to be noted that the Section 124A of IPC which was slapped agaainst Aseem is an 1860 Act that was promulgated by the British Raj to help control its Indian subjects. Where as the anti-sedition law was abolished in the UK in 2010, in India it has been levied twice in the last five years - against Dr Binayak Sen and Aseem Trivedi. There have been calls for charges under Section 124A to be formed against writer Arundhuti Roy for her comments on Kashmir and the Maoist issue.