In May 2019, the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party, popularly known as YSR Congress, won 151 of 175 seats in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly, a landslide victory that paved the way for YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to become chief minister.
Five months later, government ordinance number 2430 was issued by the Andhra Pradesh government empowering all department secretaries to lodge complaints and file appropriate legal cases through the office of the public prosecutor against “false, baseless and defamatory news items”.
The ordinance notes that this had been done in the backdrop of “instances…that certain print, electronic and social media are deliberately trying to tarnish the image of the government”.
Two years later, in 2021, the National Crime Records Bureau reported that Andhra Pradesh topped the list of states with the highest number of sedition cases. Of the 76 sedition cases filed across the country that year, Andhra Pradesh accounted for 29.
What also makes this number stark is the fact that between 2014, when the National Crime Records Bureau first started recording sedition data, and 2020, the state reported only three sedition cases. In fact, zero cases recorded in 2019 and 2020.
On May 11, the Supreme Court put the sedition law on hold, ruling that no fresh cases should…