Speaking on ‘Law of Sedition and Freedom of Expression’ during a lawyers’ workshop in Ahmedabad on Saturday, Justice Gupta maintained that in the absence of dissent, democracy will ultimately get replaced by a police state in the country
PCI’s opposition to the journalists who are trying to cover Kashmir lockdown, in the name of “national interest”, has a chilling effect that could deter well-spirited media houses from taking stands contrary to the incumbent government.
Several media bodies and civil society members on Tuesday slammed PCI for brazenly jumping its mandate to support communications blackout and media restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir
Reminiscent of India, the stolen documents argument sets an “especially dangerous precedent for journalists, who routinely violate foreign secrecy laws to deliver information vital to the public’s interest”.
No power with the executive arm to restrain publication or placing of secret documents before a court of law, says court.
“Any injunction would also be in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. The right to life with human dignity of a person is a fundamental right of every citizen for pursuit of happiness and excellence,” the court order read, adding that “Liberty aims at freedom not only from arbitrary restraint but also to secure such conditions which are essential for the full development of human personality.”
The range of curbs on free speech, with unreasonable and often illegal clampdowns from various quarters – the State, both at the Centre and respective state governments; non-state actors and vigilante groups; corporations and industrialists, provides a glimpse of the challenges ahead as India heads into a national election that promises to be one of the most fiercely contested amid an increasingly polarised polity.
A beacon of free and fair press, anti-Emergency warrior who had served jail time during Indira Gandhi’s regime, a pacifist and advocate of India-Pakistan peace process, and a fierce critic of Hindutva, Nayar was a ‘gentle colossus’ fondly remembered by almost every senior journalist in Delhi today.
Paired with the fact that a suit can be filed at any of the 600 district courts across the nation, Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code prima facie seems facilitative of abuse and harassment. This misuse was pre-empted by the Section’s drafting committee which feared that it might be used to target not just the ‘scurrilous scribbler’, but also any form criticism or mere comment upon religious matters.
‘Justice is not something that is a standalone precept but an amalgam of other ideals like “socialism”; “democracy”; “liberty”; “equality”; “fraternity”, to name a few. They are not isolated silos because their undying endeavour is to establish one discipline - of overall justice, of an inclusive society.’