Can Freedom of Speech be AbsoluteSummary: There has often been a demand for absolute freedom of speech fromvarious interes...
2) Free speech as an aspect of self- fulfillment and development – freedom ofspeech is an integral aspect of each individu...
Clause (2) of Article 19 of Indian constitution contains the grounds on whichrestrictions on the freedom of speech and exp...
6) Defamation7) Incitement to an offence: Obviously, freedom of speech and expression cannotconfer a right to incite peopl...
A view has been advanced that let the individuals be granted absolute freedom ofspeech and expression and let individual m...
book which deals with origin of nature and universe from null or Zero ornothing.http://www.sciencengod.comhttp://curatio.in
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Can freedom of speech be absolute

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Summary: There has often been a demand for absolute freedom of speech from various interest groups. However scope and limits of freedom of speech and expression are limited by its constraints. Hence absolute freedom of speech and expression is only a mirage.

Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor and has written the book “Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book begins with first chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explains cosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of life and evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliary concepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. This is the only book which deals with origin of nature and universe from null or Zero or nothing.

http://www.sciencengod.com

http://curatio.in

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Transcript of "Can freedom of speech be absolute"

  1. 1. Can Freedom of Speech be AbsoluteSummary: There has often been a demand for absolute freedom of speech fromvarious interest groups. However scope and limits of freedom of speech andexpression are limited by its constraints. Hence absolute freedom of speech andexpression is only a mirage.Absolute freedom is what we all desire. Likewise we all want to enjoy absolutefreedom of speech and self expression. Therefore it is not surprising that freedomof speech and expression has been granted to us even by law.Freedom of speech and expression has been recognized as a fundamental right inArticle 19(1) of constitution of India. Freedom of speech is guaranteed not only bythe constitution or statutes of various states but also by various internationalconventions like Universal Declaration of Human Rights, European convention onHuman Rights and fundamental freedoms, International Covenant on Civil andPolitical Rights etc. These declarations expressly talk about protection of freedomof speech and expression.In the judgment of the case Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India the Supreme Courtheld that the freedom of speech and expression has no geographical limitationand it carries with it the right of a citizen to gather information and to exchangethought with others not only in India but abroad also.Why to protect freedom of speech?Freedom of speech offers human being opportunity to express their feelings toone another, but this is not the only reason; purpose to protect the freedom ofspeech. There are four other reasons for freedom of speech –1) Discovery of truth by open discussion - According to it restrictions on speechshall prevent the ascertainment and publication of accurate facts and valuableopinion. Therefore freedom of speech is essential for social well-being.
  2. 2. 2) Free speech as an aspect of self- fulfillment and development – freedom ofspeech is an integral aspect of each individual’s right to self-development andself-fulfillment. Restriction on what we are allowed to say and write or to hearand read will hamper our personality and its growth. It helps an individual toattain self-fulfillment.3) For expressing belief and political attitudes - freedom of speech providesopportunity to express one’s belief and show political attitudes. It ultimatelyresults in the welfare of the society and state. Thus, freedom of speech provides amechanism by which it would be possible to establish a reasonable balancebetween stability and social change.4) For active participation in democracy – democracy is most important feature oftoday’s world. Freedom of speech is there to protect the right of all citizens tounderstand political issues so that they can participate in smooth working ofdemocracy. That is to say, freedom of speech strengthens the capacity of anindividual in participating in decision-making.Thus we find that protection of freedom of speech is very much essential.Protection of freedom of speech is important for the discovery of truth by opendiscussion, for self- fulfillment and development, for expressing belief andpolitical attitudes, and for active participation in democracy.However, there are several restrictions to freedom of speech and expression. InBritish law, freedom of speech and expression is limited by legally prescribedprohibitions.Supreme Court in a recent judgment has held that freedom of speech andexpression is "not an absolute" and remarked that journalists "should know thelakshman rekha so that they dont cross the line of contempt."Justice Kapadia also clarified that the postponement will be for a short period oftime and will not affect the trial. The doctrine, he added, has been evolved as a"preventive measure" for "administration of justice and fairness of trial" and notas a prohibitive and punitive measure.
  3. 3. Clause (2) of Article 19 of Indian constitution contains the grounds on whichrestrictions on the freedom of speech and expression can be imposed: -1) Security of State: Security of state is of vital importance and a governmentmust have power to impose restriction on the activity affecting it. Under Article19(2) reasonable restrictions can be imposed on freedom of speech andexpression in the interest of security of State. However the term “security” is verycrucial one. The term "security of state" refers only to serious and aggravatedforms of public order e.g. rebellion, waging war against the State, insurrection,criminal acts etc.2) Friendly relations with foreign states: The object behind the provision is toprohibit unrestrained malicious propaganda against a foreign friendly state, whichmay jeopardize the maintenance of good relations between India, and that state.In India, the Foreign Relations Act, (XII of 1932) provides punishment for libel byIndian citizens against foreign dignitaries.3) Public Order: Next restriction prescribed by constitution is to maintain publicorder. Public order is an expression of wide connotation and signifies "that stateof tranquility which prevails among the members of political society as a result ofinternal regulations enforced by the Government which they have established."4) Decency or morality: The way to express something or to say something shouldbe decent one. It should not affect the morality of the society adversely. Sections292 to 294 of the Indian Penal Code provide instances of restrictions on thefreedom of speech and expression in the interest of decency or morality. Thesesections prohibit the sale or distribution or exhibition of obscene words, etc. inpublic places. No fix standard is laid down till now as to what is moral andindecent. The standard of morality is contextual.5) Contempt of Court: Indian contempt law was amended in 2006 to make “truth”a defense but with qualification that deliberate efforts to scandalize court are notexempted.
  4. 4. 6) Defamation7) Incitement to an offence: Obviously, freedom of speech and expression cannotconfer a right to incite people to commit offence. The word offence is defined asany act or omission made punishable by law for the time being in force.8) Sovereignty and integrity of India- To maintain sovereignty and integrity of astate freedom of speech and expression can be restricted so as not to permit anyone to challenge sovereignty or to permit any one to preach something which willresult in threat to integrity of the country.From above analysis, it is evident that Grounds contained in Article 19(2) showthat they are all concerned with the national interest or in the interest of thesociety. The first set of grounds i.e. the sovereignty and integrity of India, thesecurity of the State, friendly relations with foreign States and public order are allgrounds referable to national interest; whereas, the second set of grounds i.e.decency, morality, contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an offenceare all concerned with the interest of the society.Similar legal situation prevails in various countries i.e. on one hand law confersfreedom of speech and expression and on the other hand undermines it byimposing restrictions due to various reasons. Hence legally freedom of speech isnot absolute.We exist as independent, discrete entities in dependent and interdependentrelationship with other discrete entities. No one exists in vacuum. Absolutefreedom of any kind is bound to often lead to conflict situations with otherindependent entities existing in our ecosystem. These conflicts are likely to be athreat to our peace and tranquility. These conflicts must be avoided all the timeand therefore we can exercise our freedom of speech and expression withdiscretion only. Indiscriminate exercise of freedom can often be detrimental toour own interest.We all have to live as a part of a social system and no system can grant completeindependence to any of its parts.
  5. 5. A view has been advanced that let the individuals be granted absolute freedom ofspeech and expression and let individual members of the society decide forthemselves, whether or not they want to get along. But no uncivil means shouldbe adopted to protest against things and events which individual members of thesociety find objectionable. For example M.F.Hussain should not have been madeto flee the country and live in exile. I am afraid this is not an acceptable position.If M.F. Hussain had his freedom, society and its members had their freedom tohave a view about his work and select the mode of protest. If M.F. Hussain wasunable to appropriately regulate his creative surge then he can’t expect society toregulate its retaliatory urge and confine strictly to protest before a court of law.Uncivilized people can’t claim protection from the civilized society for their uncivilacts, means and methods. They can’t ask society to use only civil means againstthem. It is an unfortunate situation but unavoidable too. One can’t demandmature civil form of protest by others when one’s hands are not clean.Misuse of freedom of speech and expression for the purpose of mass marketing iswidely rampant. Journalist, authors, painters, feature film makers and otherswould deliberately create and publish material only to capture mass attention bycreating a controversy because they know that controversies generally sell well.They are well aware of gullibility of people and know how to exploit it to furthertheir commercial interest. So first they commit acts injurious to interest of thesociety and state and then seek protection under the right to freedom of speechand expression. No civilized society can ever afford such misuse of its ideals andlaw.Summing up freedom of speech and expression can’t be absolute. It is subject toseveral constraints. Any society is well within its rights to preemptively employvarious means to enforce constraints to freedom of speech and expression.Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor and has written thebook “Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book beginswith first chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explainscosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of lifeand evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliaryconcepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. This is the only
  6. 6. book which deals with origin of nature and universe from null or Zero ornothing.http://www.sciencengod.comhttp://curatio.in

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