Thursday, May 6, 2021
Home India Freedom of speech and expression has limits, says Supreme Court

Freedom of speech and expression has limits, says Supreme Court

Supreme_Court_of_India_-_200705_(edited)

By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Supreme Court on Thursday declared that freedom of speech and expression has “constitutional limitation attached to it” and it has to be given a broad canvas. This right cannot be exercised to attribute obscene expletives to “historically respected personality” such as Mahatma Gandhi.

A bench of Justices, Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant, said, “Freedom of speech and expression has to be given a broad canvas, but it has to have inherent limitations which are permissible within the constitutional parameters.”

“We have already opined that freedom of speech and expression as enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution is not absolute in view of Article 19(2) of the Constitution,” they added.

“We reiterate the said right is a right of great value and transcends and with the passage of time and growth of culture, it has to pave the path of ascendancy, but it cannot be put in the compartment of absoluteness. There is constitutional limitation attached to it,” the bench said.

The bench set these standards while hearing the plea of Devidas Ramachandra Tuljapurkar, editor and publisher of a bulletin magazine of All India Bank Employees Association, who was charged with publishing the “obscene” Marathi poem titled Gandhi Mala Bhetala (I Met Gandhi) authored by Vasant Dattatray Gujjar in which Gandhi’s character was ridiculed. The poem was published in 1994 in an in-house bank magazine.

The apex court said in its judgment:

When the name of Mahatma Gandhi is alluded or used as a symbol, speaking or using obscene words, the concept of “degree” comes in. To elaborate, the “contemporary community standards test” becomes applicable with more vigour, in a greater degree and in an accentuated manner. What can otherwise pass of the contemporary community standards test for use of the same language, it would not be so, if the name of Mahatma Gandhi is used as a symbol or allusion or surrealistic voice to put words or to show him doing such acts which are obscene.

The contemporary community standards test is a parameter for adjudging obscenity, and in that context, the words used or spoken by a historically respected personality is a medium of communication through a poem or write-up or other form of artistic work gets signification, the top court said.

“We have already opined that by bringing in a historically respected personality to the arena of section 292 IPC, neither a new offence is created nor an ingredient is interpreted,” the court said. “In the context of obscenity, the provision enshrined under the Indian Penal Code’s section 292 (sale, etc., of obscene books, etc.) has its room to play,” Justice Pant added.

In 1994, after watching the poem in bank premises, Patit Pawan Sanghtan had filed the complaint against the publisher and the author of the poem. Both the trial court and the Bombay High Court declined to unsaddle them of the obscenity charge although they were charged of creating enmity between different sections.

STAY CONNECTED

19,510FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

A Brief History Of Pandemics

As we all know, a pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across the world and created havoc. For instance,...

Who Is Ahead In The GDP Race – USA Or China?

Everyone talks of China overtaking the USA in GDP and 5G. We now live in a globalized and digital world where productivity and technologies...

Russian Scientists Establish Buddhist Meditative State ‘thukdam’

In first scientific evidence, Russian scientists have demonstrated that the body of a person in the rare spiritual meditative state of 'thukdam' is in...

Tourists Queue Up 60 Years After The First American In Space

Sixty years after Alan Shepard became the first American in space, everyday people are on the verge of following in his cosmic footsteps. Jeff Bezos'...

Are Europe’s Climate-Action Targets Achievable?

By- Jamie Dettmer How politically realistic are the climate action goals that European governments are setting in lockstep with the United States? Some analysts are warning...

Gold Diggers: ‘It’s About Gold’, Says Author Sanjena Sathian

It began as a tale of a mother and a daughter, two Indian Americans who are gold thieves, but expanded into a magical realist...

Twitter Introduced New Prompts To Combat Bullying

Twitter has rolled out improved prompts on iOS and Android that will encourage users to pause and reconsider a potentially harmful or offensive reply...

UN Agencies: Food Insecurity Has Reached A Five-Year High Globally

Global conflicts, economic crises, and extreme weather conditions have pushed the number of people who faced acute food insecurity to 155 million in 2020,...

Recent Comments