In a significant ruling, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has deemed sedition laws as ultra vires of the constitution. The court has struck down Section 12-A of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 following several pleas requesting to declare the sedition law null and void. Petitioners had argued that the section was contrary to the Constitution and against its true essence, and that it deprived people of their fundamental right to freedom of expression.
The federal government had defended Section 124-A, which pertains to whoever attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites disaffection towards, the federal or provincial government established by law, stating that it imposes a reasonable restriction to free speech as long as the spoken or written words have the intention or tendency to create disorder or disturb public peace by resorting to violence against the respective governments.
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However, the Lahore High Court ruled that sedition laws had been used as a tool of exploitation to suppress dissent, free speech, and criticism in free and independent Pakistan. Additionally, the court has instructed the respondents to not register any FIRs or take any coercive measure in sedition cases under Section 124-A PPC, 1860 during the pendency of the instant petition.