As you are aware that "India" comes from the name of river "Indus River" which runs across India. It is originally taken from Sanskrit Word, "Sindhu" means river. The people of Persia called it "Hind." The Latin called it River Indus and generally all those people living east side of " Indus River" is called Indian. The world "India" means the world where "Hindus" are living and afterward it becomes "Hindustan." It means the whole world knows that "India" is a place or country, where "Hindus" are living from ancient times.
India is a long-ruled estate first Mughals had ruled us far more than seven hundred (700) years and then these Britishers.
We have gotten our freed in the midnight of 15th August,1947 and we have adopted our Supreme Law ,"The Constitution of India" on 26th January,1950. Our ancestors were preparing this masterpiece since 1946 ,because they believed that we were getting independence very soon and at last we freed in 1947.
January 26, 1950 was the day a new democracy was born, the day India saw its constitution come to being, the day every Indian feels proud of.
The Indian Constitution is the longest of any sovereign country in the world. In its current form, it has a Preamble, 22 parts with 448 articles, 12 schedules, 5 appendices and 115 amendments.
The Constituent Assembly sat for a total of 11 sessions. The 11th session was held between 14 – 26 November 1949. On 26 November 1949, the final draft of the Constitution was ready.
India is the largest democracy in the world and the constitution of India is one of the most amazing constitutions in any democracy.
September 15 is celebrated as the International Day of Democracy with the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy. And what better way to celebrate this day than by learning some amazing facts about our constitution that promises democracy in India.
The original copies of the Indian Constitution were written in Hindi and English. Each member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution, signed two copies of the constitution, one in Hindi and the other in English.
The Constitution of India, which is the longest written constitution of any country in the world, was handwritten in Hindi and English rather than being printed or typed. The document was written by Prem Behari Narain Raizada in a calligraphy font.
It must be seen that the Indian Constitution was not made in a hurry but followed a deep and debated procedure. When the draft was prepared and put up for debate and discussion, over 2000 amendments were made before it was finalised.
Almost all the debates in the Constituent Assembly revolved around the amendments made by the Draft Committee to the Constitution.
THE PREAMBLE OF THE CONSTITUTION
The Preamble to the Constitution declares India to be a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and a welfare state committed to secure "justice, liberty and equality for the people and for promoting fraternity, dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation."
The word 'SOCIALIST' & 'SECULAR' was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd amendment act of 1976. It implies social and economic equality and there is not religion of the government of India. The Government of India will not promote any particular religion and respect all religion. There will be no state sponsored religion.
Social equality in this context means the absence of discrimination on the grounds only of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language.
The Indian Constitution is called a living document because it can be amended or changed. Our Constitution accepts the necessity of modifications according to changing needs of society. Thus, both political practices and judicial rulings have shown maturity and flexibility in implementing the Constitution.
The changes in the Constitution are called Constitutional amendments. Up to January 2020, 104 amendments have been made to the Indian Constitution.
PREAMBLE OF THE CONSTITUTION
A preamble is an introductory statement in a document that explains the document's philosophy and objectives.In the Constitution, it presents the intention of its framers, the history behind its creation, and the core values and principles of the nation.
The preamble basically gives idea of the following things/objects:
- Source of the Constitution;
- Nature of Indian State;
- Statement of its objectives;
- Date of its adoption
COMPONENTS OF PREAMBLE
- It is indicated by the Preamble that the source of authority of the Constitution lies with the people of India.
- Preamble declares India to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular and Democratic Republic.
- The objectives stated by the Preamble are to secure justice, liberty, equality to all citizens and promote fraternity to maintain unity and integrity of the nation.
- The date is mentioned in the preamble when it was adopted i.e., November 26, 1949.
KEY WORDS IN THE PREAMBLE
- We, the people of India:It indicates the ultimate sovereignty of the people of India. Sovereignty means the independent authority of the State, not being subject to the control of any other State or external power. We people of India means all people present at the time of adoption of the constitution , people borne after adoption and future generations of people of India.
- Sovereign:The term means that India has its own independent authority, and it is not a dominion of any other external power. In the country, the legislature has the power to make laws which are subject to certain limitations.We are now sovereign ,means we are independent and not ruled by any force outside India. We are free and we choose our own government , prepare ,formulate and implement our own policies.
- Socialist: The term means the achievement of socialist ends through democratic means. It holds faith in a mixed economy where both private and public sectors co-exist side by side. The word mean that the people of India have equal right on all resources of India. The government of India will act in welfare of poor Indians and to protect them from crony capitalism. The government will take from the wealthy people in way of various types of taxes and levies and expand for welfare of poor people , this will remove disparity in income level of the people. The government of India will be socialistic and will be chosen by the people and will act for the welfare of the people.[ It was added in the Preamble by 42nd Amendment, 1976].
- Secular:The term means that all the religions in India get equal respect, protection and support from the state. It means that there will be no state sponsored religion of India such as Islam is state sponsored religion of Pakistan.The Government of India will respect of religion and provide opportunity to practice all religion in India. [It was incorporated in the Preamble by 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976.]
- Democratic:The term implies that the Constitution of India has an established form of Constitution which gets its authority from the will of the people expressed in an election. A Democratic System allows equal opportunity to all persons. In this system people of country choose their representatives ,who governs their country through voting.Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choose governing officials to do so ("representative democracy"). Who is considered part of "the people" and how authority is shared among or delegated by the people has changed over time and at different rates in different countries, but over time more and more of a democratic country's inhabitants have generally been included? Cornerstones of democracy include freedom of assembly, association, property rights, freedom of religion and speech, inclusiveness and equality, citizenship, consent of the governed, voting rights, freedom from unwarranted governmental deprivation of the right to life and liberty, and minority rights.
- Republic:The term indicates that the head of the state is elected by the people. In India, the President of India is the elected head of the state. A Republic State means and state where supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives , and which has elected or nominated a President rather than a Monarch. Same as in India , the Supreme Power is in the hand of Ministry of Legislature ,headed by the Prime Minister of India and elected members of both houses and state legislatures elect President of India on the basis of proportional voting. The PM is also elected by the people of India through voting. This government is by the people and for the people.
ARTICLE 13 IN THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA 1949- the Constitution framers before defining Fundamental Rights , established a shield through provisions of Article 13 to protect Fundamental Rights.
LAWS INCONSISTENT WITH OR IN DEROGATION OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
(1) All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be void;
(2) The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void;
(3) In this article, unless the context otherwise requires law includes any Ordinance, order, bye law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usages having in the territory of India the force of law; laws in force includes laws passed or made by Legislature or other competent authority in the territory of India before the commencement of this Constitution and not previously repealed, notwithstanding that any such law or any part thereof may not be then in operation either at all or in particular areas;
(4) Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under Article 368 Right of Equality.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN INDIAN CONSTITUTION
Originally, the Indian Constitution provided 7 Fundamental Rights which has now been revised to 6 Fundamental Rights which are as follow-:
- Right to equality (Articles 14–18)
- Right to freedom (Articles 19–22)
- Right against exploitation (Articles 23–24)
- Right to freedom of religion (Articles 25–28)
- Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29–30)
- Right to constitutional remedies (Article 32)
PLEASE NOTE THAT:The right to property was deleted from the list of Fundamental Rights by the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1978 and made a legal right under Article 300-A in Part XII of the Indian Constitution.
At present, there are only 6 Fundamental Rights. These are as follows with proper explanation:
1. Right to equality
(a) Article 14 - Equal protection of laws and Equality before law.
(b) Article 15 - Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, sex, place of birth or race.
(c) Article 16 - Equality of opportunity in terms of public employment.
(d) Article 17 - Abolition of untouchability and prohibition of its practice.
(e) Article 18 - Abolition of titles except military and academic.
2. Right to freedom
(a) Article 19 - Protection of six rights regarding freedom of:
(i) speech and expression,
(v) residence, and
(b) Article 20 - Protection in a conviction for offences.
(c) Article 21 - Protection of life and personal liberty.
(d)Article 21A - Right to elementary education.
(e) Article 22 - Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.
3. Right against exploitation
(a) Article 23 - Prohibition of traffic in forced labour and human beings.
(b) Article 24 - Prohibition of employment of children in Companies and factories, etc.
4. Right to freedom of religion
(a) Article 25 - Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
(b) Article 26 - Freedom to manage religious affairs.
(c) Article 27 - Freedom from payment of taxes for promotion of any religion or religious affairs.
(d) Article 28 - Freedom from attending religious instruction or worship in certain educational institutions
5. Cultural and educational rights
(a) Article 29 - Protection of language, script and culture of minorities.
(b) Article 30 - Rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
6. Right to constitutional remedies
Article 32 - Right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights including the writs of
(i) Habeas corpus,
(v) Quo war-rento
LET'S DISCUSS BURNING PROBLEMS OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Freedom of expression has been humanity's yearning in times ancient and modern. Similarly, censorship or reasonable restrictions are also ancient and universal phenomenon. The founders of Indian constitutions are aware about co-existence of conflicting Right and Restrictions and enacted Article 19 with clear mention of Reasonable restrictions. This has further evolved with progressive judgements of Indian Judicial System.
The freedom of expression cannot be absolute in an orderly society, and this raises crucial issues of the permissible limits of restrictions on freedom of expression. Such issues involve consideration of the nature of the restriction, its scope and extent, its duration and the presence or absence of an efficacious corrective machinery to challenge the restriction. Generally, it is the judiciary which performs the task of reconciling freedom of expression with certain imperatives of public interest such as national security, public order, public health or morals, and individual rights such as the right to reputation and the right of privacy. The crux of the matter is whether censorship is ever justifiable and, if so, in what circumstances. In India Judiciary has taken enormous effort to ensure delicate balance between Freedom of Speech and Expression and Reasonable restriction. It has pronounced severallandmark judgements.
THE ESSENCE OF FREE SPEECH is the ability to think and speak freely and to obtain information from others through publications and public discourse without fear of retribution, restrictions or repression by the Government.
THE ARTICLE 19 (1) OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION provides 6 fundamental rights in the nature of freedoms which are specifically summarized with sub-clauses of Article 19 (1) as under
(a) Freedom of speech and expression;
(b) Assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) Form associations or unions;
(d) Move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) Reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
(f) Practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
ARTICLE 19(1) (A) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA STATES THAT, "all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression".
The philosophy behind this Article lies in the Preamble of the Constitution, where a solemn resolve is made to secure to all its citizen, liberty of thought and expression.
The exercise of this right is, however, subject to "reasonable restrictions" for certain purposes being imposed under Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India.
THE ARTICLE 19 (2) states that nothing in sub clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
THE MAIN ELEMENTS OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH & EXPRESSION
- This right is available only to a citizen of India and not to foreign nationals.
- The freedom of speech under Article 19(1) (a) includes the right to express one's views and opinions at any issue through any medium, e.g., by words of mouth, writing, printing, picture, film, movie etc.
- This right is, however, not absolute and it allows Government to frame laws to impose reasonable restrictions in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency and morality and contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an offence.
- This restriction on the freedom of speech of any citizen may be imposed as much by an action of the State as by its inaction. Thus, failure on the part of the State to guarantee to all its citizens the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression would also constitute a violation of Article 19(1) (a).
LANDMARK JUDGEMENTS OF SUPREME COURT OF INDIA:Freedom of Speech and Expression
Judicial creativity, judicial wisdom and judicial craftsmanship have widened the scope of freedom of speech & expression by including in it the following aspects;-
- Freedom of Press;
- Freedom of Commercial Speech;
- Right to Broadcast;
- Right to Information;
- Right to Criticize;
- Right to expression beyond national boundaries;
- Right not to speak or Right to silence is also included in the Right to speech and expression.
- FREEDOM OF PRESS DEMOCRACY thrives through vigilant eye of Legislature, care and guidance of public opinion and press par excellence. Freedom of speech include right to propagate one's views through print media or any other communication channel e.g., radio, television subject to reasonable restrictions imposed under Article 19(2).
- ROMESH THAPPAR V. STATE OF MADRAS(1950 SCR 594, 607; AIR 1950 SC 124),was amongst the earliest cases to be decided by the Supreme Court declaring freedom of press as a part of freedom of speech and expression. Patanjali Sastri, J., rightly observed that- 'Freedom of Speech and of Press lay at the foundation of all democratic organizations, for without free political discussion, no public education, so essential for the proper functioning of the process of Government, is possible.'
- INDIAN EXPRESS V. UNION OF INDIA,(1985) 1 SCC 641, it has been held that the Press plays a very significant role in the democratic machinery. The courts have duty to uphold the freedom of press and invalidate all laws and administrative actions that abridge that freedom. Freedom of Press includes freedom of publication, freedom of circulation and freedom against pre-censorship.
- IN SAKAL PAPERS LTD. V. UNION OF INDIA,[AIR 1962 SC 305] the Daily Newspapers (Price and Page) Order, 1960, which fixed the number of pages and size which a newspaper could publish at a price and in Bennett Coleman and Co. v. Union of India,[AIR 1973 SC 106; (1972) 2 SCC 788],the validity of the Newsprint Control Order, which fixed the maximum number of pages, was struck down by the Supreme Court of India holding it to be violative of provision of Article 19(1)(a) and not to be reasonable restriction under Article 19(2). The Court struck down the Government's stand that it would help small newspapers to grow."
- IN THE CASE OF BRIJ BHUSHAN V. STATE OF DELHI(AIR 1950 SC 129),the validity of order imposing pre-censorship on an English Weekly of Delhi, which directed the editor and publisher of a newspaper to submit for scrutiny, in duplicate, before the publication, all communal matters, all the matters and news and views about Pakistan, including photographs, and cartoons, on the ground that it was a restriction on the liberty of the press, was struck down by court.
FREEDOM OF COMMERCIAL SPEECH-defines as
It is an absence of statutory and administrative control on dissemination of information, ideas, knowledge and thoughts.
The freedom of the press and of expression is guarded by the First Amendment to the US Constitution which specifically lays down that this freedom be in no way abridge by the laws. It is not Indian Leaders were not aware of the US First Amendment or of Jefferson's famous declaration when he said that "Were it left me to decide whether we should have a government without newspaper or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
Jawahar Lal Nehru echoed similar views "I would rather have a completely free press, with all the dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom, than a suppressed or regulated press." Voltair once said, "I do not agree with a word you say but I defend to death your right to say it."
STATUS OF FREEDOM OF PRESS IN INDIA
In Romesh Thapar v/s State of Madras, Patanjali Shastri,CJ, observed that "Freedom of speech & of the press lay at the foundation of all democratic organization, for without free political discussion no public education, so essential for the proper functioning of the process of popular government, is possible." In this case, entry and circulation of the English journal "Cross Road," printed and published in Bombay, was banned by the Government of Madras. The same was held to be violative of the freedom of speech and expression, as "without liberty of circulation, publication would be of little value."
The Hon'ble Supreme Court observed in Union of India v/s Association for Democratic Reforms, "One-sided information, disinformation, misinformation and non-information, all equally create an uninformed citizenry which makes democracy a farce. Freedom of speech and expression includes right to impart and receive information which includes freedom to hold opinions."
In Indian Express Newspapers v/s Union of India, it has been held that the press plays a very significant role in the democratic machinery. The courts have duty to uphold the freedom of press and invalidate all laws and administrative actions that abridge that freedom. Freedom of press has three essential elements. They are:
1. Freedom of access to all sources of information,
- Freedom of publication, and
- Freedom of circulation.
There are many instances when the freedom of press has been suppressed by the legislature.
In Sakal Papers v/s Union of India, the Daily Newspapers (Price and Page) Order, 1960, which fixed the number of pages and size which a newspaper could publish at a price was held to be violative of freedom of press and not a reasonable restriction under the Article 19(2). Similarly, in Bennett Coleman and Co. v/s Union of India, the validity of the Newsprint Control Order, which fixed the maximum number of pages, was struck down by the Court holding it to be violative of provision of Article 19(1)(a) and not to be reasonable restriction under Article 19(2). The Court also rejected the plea of the Government that it would help small newspapers to grow.
In Tata Press Ltd. Vs. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., the Supreme Court held that a commercial advertisement or commercial speech was also a part of the freedom of speech and expression, which would be restricted only within the limitation of Article 19(2). Supreme Court held that advertising, which is no more than a commercial transaction, is nonetheless dissemination of information regarding the productadvertised. Public at large are benefited by the information made available through the advertisements. In a democratic economy, free flow of commercial information is indispensable.
RIGHT TO BROADCAST
The concept speech and expression has evolved with the progress of technology and include all available means of expression and communication. This would include the electronic and the broadcast media.
In Odyssey Communications (P) Ltd .v. Lokvidayan Sanghatana, the Supreme Court held that the right of a citizen to exhibit films on the State channel – Doordarshan is part of the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a). In this case, the petitioners challenged the exhibition on Doordarshan of a serial titled "Honi Anhonion" on the ground that it encouraged superstitious and blind faith amongst viewers. The petition was dismissed as the petitioner failed to show evidence of prejudice to the public.
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
The freedom of 'speech and expression' comprises not only the right to express, publish and propagate information, its circulation but also to receive information. This was held by the Supreme Court in a series of judgements which have discussed the right to information in varied contexts from advertisements enabling the citizens to get vital information about life-saving drugs, to the right of sports lovers to watch cricket and the right of voters to know the antecedents of electoral candidates.
The Supreme Court observed in Union of India v. Assn. for Democratic Reforms (2002) 5 SCC 294., "One-sided information, disinformation, misinformation and noninformation, all equally create an uninformed citizenry which makes democracy a farce. Freedom of speech and expression includes right to impart and receive information which includes freedom to hold opinions".
RIGHT TO CRITICIZE
In S. Rangarajan v.P. Jagjivan Ram, everyone has a fundamental right to form his opinion on any issues of general concern. Open criticism of government policies and operations is not a ground for restricting expression. Intolerance is as much dangerous to democracy as to the person himself. In democracy, it is not necessary that everyone should sing the same song.
RIGHT TO EXPRESSION BEYOND NATIONAL BOUNDARIES
In Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India, the Supreme Court considered whether Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution was confined to Indian territory and held that the freedom of speech and expression is not confined to National boundaries.
RIGHT NOT TO SPEAK OR RIGHT TO SILENCE
It is also included in the Right to speech and expression. In the case of National Anthem, three students were expelled from the school for refusal to sing the national anthem. However, the children stood up in respect when the national anthem was playing. The validity of the expulsion of the students was challenged before the Kerala High Court and they upheld the expulsion of the students on the ground that it was their fundamental duty to sing the national anthem. However, on an appeal being filed against the order of the Kerala High Court before the Supreme Court, it was held by the Supreme Court that the students did not commit any offence under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Also, there was no law under which their fundamental right under Article 19(1) (a) could be curtailed. Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala 1986 3 SC 615
Let us explain each aspect of Reasonable restrictions to Freedom of Speech and Expression in the light of Supreme Court Judgements
SECURITY OF THE STATE: Reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the freedom of speech and expression, in the interest of the security of the State. The term security of state has to be distinguished from public order. For security of state refers to serious and aggravated forms of public disorder, example rebellion, waging war against the state [entire state or part of the state], insurrection etc.In the case of People's Union for Civil Liberty y versus Union of India AIR 1997 SC 568 a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed under Article 32of the Indian Constitution by PUCL, against the frequent cases of telephone tapping. The validity of Section 5(2)of The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 was challenged. It was observed that "occurrence of public emergency" and "in the interest of public safety" is the sine qua non for the application of the provisions of Section 5(2). If any of these two conditionsare not present, the government has no right to exercise its power under the said section. Telephone tapping, therefore, violates Article 19(1) (a) unless it comes within the grounds of reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2).
FRIENDLY RELATIONS WITH FOREIGN STATES: This ground was added by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act of 1951. The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression if it hampers the friendly relations of India with other States or States.
PUBLIC ORDER: This ground was added by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951 in order to meet the situation arising from the Supreme Court's decision in Romesh Thapar's, case (AIR 1950 SC 124). As per hon'ble Supreme court, public order is different from law and order and security of state [Kishori Mohan v. State of West Bengal]. The expression 'public order' connotes the sense of public peace, safety and tranquillity. Anything that disturbs public peace disturbs public order [Om Prakash v. Emperor, AIR 1948 Nag, 199].But mere criticism of the government does not necessarily disturb public order. A law, which punishes the deliberate utterances hurting the religious feelings of any class has been held to be valid and reasonable restriction aimed to maintaining the public order.
DECENCY AND MORALITY Section 292 to 294 of the Indian Penal Code provide instances of restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression on the grounds of decency and morality, it prohibits the sale or distribution or exhibition of obscene words. The standard of morality changes with changing times.
The Supreme Court in Ranjit D. Udeshi v. State of Maharashtra (AIR 1965 SC 881) upheld the conviction of a book seller who was prosecuted under Section 292, I.P.C., for selling and keeping the book Lady Chatterley's Lover.
CONTEMPT OF COURT: The constitutional right to freedom of speech would not allow a person to contempt the courts. The expression Contempt of Court has been defined Section 2 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. The term contempt of court refers to civil contempt or criminal contempt under the Act.
In E.M.S. Namboodripad v. T.N. Nambiar (1970) 2 SCC 325; AIR 1970 SC 2015), the Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the High Court, holding Mr. Namboodripad guilty of contempt of court.
DEFAMATION: The clause (2) of Article 19 prevents any person from making any statement that defames the reputation of another. Defamation is a crime in India inserted into Section 499 and 500 of the I.P.C. Right to free speech is not absolute. It does not mean freedom to hurt another's reputation which is protected under Article 21 of the constitution. Although truth is considered a defence against defamation, but the defence would help only if the statement was made 'for the public good' and that is a question of fact to be assessed by the judiciary.
INCITEMENT TO AN OFFENSE: This ground was also added by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951. The Constitution also prohibits a person from making any statement that incites people to commit offense.
SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRITY OF INDIA: This ground was added subsequently by the Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Act, 1963. This is aimed to prohibit anyone from making the statements that challenge the integrity and sovereignty of India.
FROM ABOVE WE CONCLUDE THAT
- The right of freedom of Speech and Expression available to ONLY citizen.
- It is not only granted by Indian constitution but also various international conventions like Universal declaration of Human rights, International convention on Civil and Political Rights.
- It includes Freedom of Press, Freedom of Commercial Speech, Right to Broadcast, Right to Information, Right to Criticize, Right to expression beyond national boundaries, Right not to speak or Right to silence is also included in the Right to speech and expression.
- This right is subject to reasonable restrictions stated under Article 19 (2) and elaborated and pronounced by various Supreme Court judgments. For example, sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency and morality and contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an offence.
- Public order, a ground of reasonable restriction, is different from Law and order.
- Right to information, a major enactment is result of progressive judicial decision with respect to Article 19 (1) (a). 7. It is one of the most basic elements of a healthy, open minded, and flourishing democracy.
The Constitution of India is the most comprehensive written constitution in the World. The framers of India has framed the Constitution such as that it may be amended with the passage of time and for the welfare of the people of India. The Constitution has given some fundamental rights to the people and protects their rights through Article 13. We know that rights given by Constitution are the Fundamental Rights and rights given by other law are Legal Rights. The Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression is a Fundamental Right given by Article 19 , but this is not an absolute right, and it is subject to some restrictions as mentioned in Article 19(2). The Freedom of Expression enables one to express one's own voices as well as those of others, but the freedom of the press must be subject to those restriction which apply to the freedom of speech and expression. You are not free to say anything ,which will harm interest of the country, raise religious disputes and differences among religions. The restriction mentioned are defamation, contempt of the court, decency or morality, security of the state, friendly relationship between India with other country, incitement for an offence, public order and maintenance of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
DISCLAIMER: The article presented here is only for information and knowledge of readers. The views are personal and in case of necessity do consult with legal professionals for more clarity and understanding on subject matter.