Freedom of speech is a democratic ideal in ancient Greece, that is, the freedom of citizens to express their views without government restrictions. In many countries, the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression. However, not all modern democracies limit this freedom. The ancient Greeks introduced freedom of speech as a principle of democracy. The ancient Greek word for ‘Parrhesia’ is ‘free speech’ or ‘to speak sincerely’. Historians attest to the fact that the term first appeared in Greek literature in the late fifth century.
During the classical period, the Parrhesia became a fundamental part of democracy in Athens. Leaders, playwrights, and the general public in Athens were free to speak openly about politics and religion and to criticize government laws, procedures, and arrangements.
The Constitution of India also provides constitutional protection for certain personal freedoms and rights, including freedom of speech and worship. But it is not clear what freedom of speech means. It is mainly in the courts that the law defines what kind of conversation should be protected. It protects all forms of communication, from speeches to art and other media.
Freedom of speech is mostly about spoken or written words. But it also preserves some symbolic expressions. The symbolic discourse of flag-burning is a dialogue or activity that expresses such an idea.
While there is constitutional freedom to speak and express opinions, some conversations may not have this protection. That is, acts such as child pornography, plagiarism, direct threats of defamation (defamation and defamation), or incitement to commit illegal acts are not legally protected. The Supreme Court of India and other lower courts have frequently ruled on numerous cases that have helped to define the limits of freedom of expression. But the law also prohibits interference in espionage or military action.
Any situation that allows the government to limit freedom of expression in accordance with clear and existing standards must be able to respond by recognizing that it is an encroachment on individual liberty and civil liberties and that it is dangerous to national security.
What are the basics that can control this freedom?
Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India states that “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech“. It is committed to ensuring the security of all citizens and freedom of thought and expression. However, this right is subject to certain restrictions subject to certain requirements imposed by Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India. The court has a duty to uphold media freedom and to repeal all laws and administrative measures that undermine that freedom. These include freedom of the press, freedom of publication, freedom of distribution and freedom before censorship.
There has been a court order determining the number of pages and size that a newspaper can publish for a price. The validity of the Newsprint Control Order, which defines the maximum number of pages, shall not be subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19 (1) (a) Article 19 (2). The court rejected the government’s position that small newspapers would help grow.
However, this right is not absolute and allows the government to exercise reasonable control over the interests of India’s sovereignty and integrity, state security, friendship with foreign countries, public order, decency, morality and contempt. In addition, the court does not allow negligence, defamation or incitement to commit a crime. This restriction on the freedom of speech of any citizen can be applied in the same way as the inaction of the state. Failure on the part of the government is a violation of Article 19 (1) (a) as it guarantees the fundamental right to freedom of speech to all citizens.
There have been numerous cases in the courts of law in India alleging freedom of speech. Proof of such cases in various disciplines involves judicial creativity, judicial wisdom, and judicial ingenuity. This increased the scope of freedom of speech. Legislative freedom can only grow through the maintenance and guidance of the legislature’s vigilance, public opinion and journalistic excellence. Freedom of speech includes the right to disseminate one’s views through the print media or any other means of communication, subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by Article 19 (20).
In the first case in which the Supreme Court ruled in favour of freedom of expression as part of freedom of expression, Patanjali Shastri observed that freedom of speech was the basis of all democratic organizations, because without free political discussion, there is no public education, and the proper functioning of government processes is essential. The validity of the order imposing per-censorship on an English weekly in Delhi was directed to be scrutinized by the editor and publisher of a newspaper.
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited contends that commercial advertising or commercial speech is part of the freedom of speech and will be limited to Article 19 (2). The Supreme Court ruled that the advertisement, which was not more of a commercial intervention, was, however, disseminating information related to product advertising. The public benefits greatly from the information provided through advertisements. In a democratic economy, the free flow of commercial information is inevitable.
Conceptual discourse and expression have evolved with the advancement of technology and include all available means of communication and communication. This includes electronic and broadcast media.
The Supreme Court in Lokvidayan Sanghatana opined that the right of a citizen to screen a film on a state channel is part of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a) of the Television. In this case, the applicants challenged the exhibition on the television of the series Honey Anhonian, claiming that superstition also promotes blind faith among the audience. The application was rejected on the ground that the complainant had failed to show evidence of prejudice to the public.
Freedom of expression and expression is not only the right to express and publish information, but it also disseminates and receives information. The Supreme Court has intervened in judgments that have discussed the right to information and the right of sports fans to watch cricket in various contexts, from advertisements that enable citizens to receive vital information about life-saving drugs. Citizens’ rights also include the fact that voters have the right to know the past history of their candidates.
In the case of Democratic reforms, all unilateral information creates an uninformed citizen. That makes democracy a farce. This includes the right to freedom of expression and acceptance.
Everyone has the fundamental right to express his or her opinion on any matter of common concern. Publicly criticizing government policies and actions is not a reason to restrict expression. Intolerance is as dangerous to democracy as it is to the individual. In a democracy, not everyone has to sing every song.
The Supreme Court has considered whether Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India is restricted to Indian territory and argues that freedom of speech is not limited to national borders. The right to speak or the right to be silent is included in the right to speak and to express one’s opinion.
In the case of the national anthem, three students were expelled from school for refusing to sing the national anthem. However, the court found that the children stood up respectfully while singing the national anthem and questioned the validity of the expulsion of the students in the Kerala High Court and upheld the expulsion of the students on the ground that singing the national anthem was their basic duty. However, on appeal to the Supreme Court against the order of the Kerala High Court, the Supreme Court held that the students had not committed any offence under the Prevention of Defamation of National Honors Act, 1971. There was no law that could deprive them of their fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a).
Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India imposes certain restrictions on freedom of expression under the following heads.
For the security of the state, reasonable restrictions on freedom of expression may be imposed. The term security of the state needs to be separated from the general order. Serious and worse general agreements regarding state security, for example, riots, war against the state (the entire state or part of the state), riots.
A public interest litigation has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India against cases such as telephone tapping. This called into question the validity of Section 5 (2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. It is in the public interest and in the interest of public safety not to apply the provisions of Section 5 (2). If any of these two conditions do not exist, the government has no right to exercise power under this section. Accordingly, the law is violated if it does not come under reasonable restrictions.
This was added by the 1951 Constitution (First Amendment) Act. The State can impose reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech and expression if it interferes with India’s friendly relations with other States or States.
This basis was added to resolve the situation arising out of the decision of the Supreme Court under the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951. In the opinion of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the term ‘public order’ refers to public order, security and tranquillity, as public order is different from law and order and the security of the state. Anything that affects public peace interferes with public order. But criticizing the government does not necessarily disrupt public order. A law punishing intentional utterances that offend the religious sentiments of any race is considered a valid and reasonable regulation aimed at maintaining public order.
Dignity and Morality Sections 292 to 294 of the Indian Penal Code restrict freedom of speech on the basis of decency and morality, prohibiting the sale, distribution or display of obscene language. The standard of morality changes with the changing times. The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a bookseller who was tried under Section 292, IPC for selling and keeping a book titled ‘Lady Chatterley’s Son’.
The constitutional right to freedom of speech does not allow an individual to contempt of court. The term court permission is defined by Section 2 of the Court of Defamation Act, 1971. The term contempt of court refers to civil contempt or criminal contempt by law.
Article 19 (2) of Article 19 prohibits any person from making a statement defaming the reputation of another. Defamation in India under Sections 499 and 500 of the KJE is a criminal offence. The right to freedom of expression is not absolute. This does not mean the freedom to hurt the reputation of another who is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution. Although truth is considered a defence against defamation, the defence can only be made by making a statement for the common good. This is a fact that needs to be assessed by the judiciary.
Incitement to commit a crime: The 1951 Constitution (First Amendment) Act also added this basis. The Constitution also prohibits any statement inciting people to commit a crime. Sovereignty and Integrity of India: The Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Act, 1963 added this basis. It aims to prevent anyone from making statements that challenge India’s integrity and sovereignty.
In conclusion, the right to freedom of expression is an important fundamental right, the scope of which has been expanded to include freedom of the press, the right to information, silence, and the right to criticize, including commercial information. However, the said right is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19 (2).
Author’s Note – This question has three parts, i.e. explain the right to freedom of expression under Article 19; Confirm the explanation given through the decided cases, and clarify the basis of the restrictions on freedom of expression and control.