BlogGeneralShould There be any Restrictions on Free Speech?

Should There be any Restrictions on Free Speech?

Article 19 guarantees the right to freedom of expression.

All inhabitants of India have the right to speak freely and express themselves, according to Article 19 of the Constitutional Provisions. All naturalized citizens have the right to free speech and communication. It involves the freedom to express one’s thoughts or opinions on any subject using any means, including words (orally or in writing), artwork, film, and so on. It involves the ability to communicate one’s views or opinions, as well as the right to publish one’s thoughts or opinions. Under Article 19, a State may impose certain restrictions on this principle to free expression.

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    The elements that make up the right to freedom of speech and expression are as follows:

    • Only citizens of the country have the right to freedom of speech and expression.
    • The protected rights in Article 19 also provide a person communicating his or her thoughts and opinions through every means, such as spoken words, painting, or film.
    • This is not an inalienable right; the government to set limitations on it. Restrictions can be put on any person by a state’s action or inaction.
    • As a result, it is a violation of Articles 19 if the government fails to protect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression and expression.
    • The phrase “speech and expression” is used in Article 19, which has a broader meaning. It also encompasses the right to communicate, print, and publicize information. Article 19 also protects the right to freedom of the press.
    • The Court held in Odyssey Communications Pvt. Ltd. that the freedom to show a film on a State Channel is a component of a basic right granted under Article 19(1) of the Constitution (a). The petitioner objected to the airing of the television show ‘Honi Anhoni,’ claiming that it encourages viewers’ superstition and blind faith. The petition was dismissed by the court because the petitioner had failed to provide proof.

    Freedom of expression is being curtailed.

    There are some topics on which the Indian Constitution imposes limitations. The Indian Constitution, in Article 19 (2), enables the state to impose legal restrictions on the various principles:

    • State-wide security
    • Relationships with other countries that are friendly
    • Public Safety
    • Morality and decency
    • Defamation of the court
    • Defamation
    • Incitement to commit a crime
    • India’s Integrity and Sovereignty
    1. Protection of the state

    For the sake of state security, appropriate restrictions on democracy and free speech can be imposed under Article 19 (2). Because it is so vital, the president has the right to impose limits on activities that jeopardize the state’s security. As a result, if an individual is impeaching or inciting criminal conduct, for example, the right to freedom of expression are issues that would jeopardize state security. That person may be subjected to constraints. PUCL filed a PIL under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution concerning phone tapping in the matter of P.U.C.L v. Union of India. In this case, the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Ordinance was questioned. Section 5 outlines the requirements that must be met in order for the Section to be used in the name of public safety and any incidence of community security. If one of these 2 phases is not met, the state has no authority to exercise its power under the said Section. Until and unless it falls under the reasons of limits under Article 19 of the Constitutional Provisions, telephone monitoring is illegal.

    1. India’s Sovereignty and Integrity

    The Constitutional (16th Amendment) Act, 1963 added this premise to Article 19 (2) because it is the most important obligation to protect India’s sovereignty and integrity. This restricts the right to freedom of expression and makes it impossible for anyone to question India’s independence. It forbids anyone from expressing anything that would jeopardize India’s sovereignty.

    1. Relationships with other countries that are friendly

    If it harms friendly relations with other countries, a state can impose restrictions on the right to freedom of expression. In 1951, the Indian constitution was amended by the (1st Amendment) Act. It’s worth noting that no other legislature in the universe has a provision like this one.

    1. Maintaining Public Order

    To address the conditions arising from the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Constitution (1st Amendment) Act of 1951 inserted this ground into the constitution. The Supreme Court decided in the case of Romesh Thapar v. the State of Madras that public order is distinct from public security and public order. There are also no grounds for putting limits on public order, as demonstrated in the instance of local breaches of public order. According to the Supreme Court, public order is an expression of public peace, safety, and serenity. In this case, the legislation in the State of Madras prohibited the publication of a Journal in the interest of public order.

    1. Morality and decency

    Sections 292 to 294 of the IPC define the terms decency and morality. It gives the government the authority to impose restrictions on freedom of speech and expression. These sections of the IPC prohibit the public dispersion or sale of obscene books and other materials.

    1. Defamation of the court

    Contempt of court is prohibited by the right to democracy and free speech. Individual liberty can be limited in a reasonable way. Section 2 of the 1971 Criminal procedure Act defines contempt of court. It also applies to both civil and criminal contempt. However, in 2006, the Indian Disdain Law was amended to include truth as a defense.

    Also read: Using Project-Based Learning to Prepare Students for Cutting-Edge Careers


    Q: Why should freedom of speech be restricted?

    Ans: “No law shall be passed by Congress curtailing the right to free speech or the press.”

    Q: What does this imply in today’s world?

    Ans: The Supreme Court has ruled that limits on speech based on its content—that is, because when the government seeks to influence the speaker’s message—violate the First Amendment in most cases.

    Q: Is there a limit to free speech?


    Transcript: The vast bulk of speech and expression is protected by the First Amendment, although it does have its limitations. These restrictions have been honed over years of legal precedent into a small number of specific types of expression that are not protected by the First Amendment.

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