The Prevention Of Seditious Meetings Act, 1911
[22nd March, 1911]
Act No. 10 of 1911
An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the prevention of public meetings likely to promote sedition or to cause a disturbance of public tranquility.
WHEREAS it is expedient to consolidate and amend the law relating to the prevention of public meetings likely to promote sedition or to cause a disturbance of public tranquility. It is hereby enacted as follows:—
1. Short title and extent.—
This Act may be called The Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1911.
It extends to the whole of India except territories which, immediately before the 1st November, 1956, were comprised in Part B States, but shall have operation only in such States or parts of States as the State Government may from time to time notify in the Official Gazette.
2. Power of State Government to notify proclaimed areas.—
The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare the whole or any part of a State, in which this Act is for the time being in operation, to be a proclaimed area.
A notification made under sub-section (1) shall not remain in force for more than six months, but nothing in this sub-section shall be deemed to prevent the State Government from making any further notifications in respect of the same area from time to time, as it may think fit.
In this Act, the expression “public meeting” means a meeting which is open to the public or any class or portion of the public.
A meeting may be a public meeting notwithstanding that it is held in a private place and notwithstanding that admission thereto may have been restricted by ticket or otherwise.
4. Notice to be given of public meetings.—
No public meeting for the furtherance or discussion of any subject likely to cause disturbance or public excitement, or for the exhibition or distribution of any writing or printed matter relating to any such subject, shall be held in any proclaimed area—
unless written notice of the intention to hold such meeting and of the time and place of such meeting has been given to the District Magistrate or the Commissioner of Police, as the case may be, at least three days previously; or
unless permission to hold such meeting has been obtained in writing from the District Magistate or the Commissioner or Police, as the case may be.
Power of Magistrate to cause Report to be taken
The District Magistrate or any Magistrate of the first class authorised by the District Magistrate in this behalf may, by order in writing, depute one or more police-officers, not being below the rank of head constable, or other persons, to attend any such meeting for the purpose of causing a report to be taken of the proceedings.
Noting in this section shall apply to any public meeting held under any statutory or other express legal authority, or to public meetings convened by a Sheriff, or to any public meetings or class of public meetings exempted for that purpose by the State Government by general or special order.
5. Power to prohibit public meetings.—
The District Magistrate or the Commissioner of Police, as the case may be, may at any time, by order in writing, of which public notice shall forthwith be given, prohibit any public meeting in a proclaimed area if, in his opinion, such meeting is likely to promote sedition or disaffection or to cause a disturbance of the public tranquillity.
Any person concerned in the promotion or conduct of a public meeting held in a proclaimed area contrary to the provisions of Section 4 shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
Any public meeting which has been prohibited under Section 5 shall be deemed to be an unlawful assembly within the meaning of Chapter VIII of the Indian Penal Code and of Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.
7. Penality for delivery of speeches in public places.—
Whoever, in a proclaimed area, in a public place or a place of public resort, otherwise than at a public meeting held in accordance with, or exempted from, the provisions of section 4, without the permission in writing of the Magistrate of the district or of the Commissioner of police, as the case may be, previously obtained, delivers any lecture, address or speech on any subject likely to cause disturbance or public excitement to persons then present, may be arrested without warrant and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
8. Cognisance of offences.—
No Court inferior to that of a Presidency Magistrate or of a Magistrate of the first class or Sub-Divisional Magistrate shall try any offence against this Act.