AFP:  India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended a colonial-era sedition law that activists say is often used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to target free speech and dissent.
 Modi’s critics say that the law, which was once used by Britain to target independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, has been abused by his government against many journalists, activists and students.
 Section 124A of the Indian penal code gives wide-ranging powers to the police to arrest people, who can even face life imprisonment, for an act or speech that “brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government.”
 “The rigours of Section 124A (are) not in tune with the current social milieu, and was intended for a time when this country was under the colonial regime,” India’s chief justice N V Ramana, part of a three-judge bench hearing a petition against the law, said.
Ramana asked the government not to file any new sedition cases and pause ongoing sedition investigations.
“All pending trials, appeals and proceedings” under sedition, the court said, “be kept in abeyance” until the “re-examination of the provision is complete.”