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Discuss the Freedom of Speech and Expression with the help of deiced Cases.


1. Introduction
2. Provisions under Article 19of the Constitution:
3. Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 (1) (g):
4. Meaning and Scope of Speech and expression:
5. Article 19 (1) (a) has 4 Broad Special Purposes to Serve:
6. Freedom of press
7. Grounds for Restrictions Under Article 19(2):
8. Conclusion.


Personal liberty is the most important of all fundamental rights. Articles 19 to 22 deals with
the different aspects of basic rights. Taken together these four Articles from a chapter of
personal liberties which provides the backbone of the fundamental rights. The foremost
amongst these are the six fundamental rights in the nature of freedoms which are guaranteed to
the Citizens by Article-19 of the Constitution.

Provisions under Article 19of the Constitution:

Among all the six fundamental rights Article-19 is the most important one. This Article
contains 6 freedoms. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.
(1) All citizens shall have the right
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 (1) (a):

Freedom of speech and expression is indispensable in a democracy. Article 19(1) (a) says
that all citizens shall have the rights to freedom of speech and expression, but this right is
subjected to limitations imposed under Article-19(2), which empowers the state to put reasonable
restrictions on following grounds. Eg: security of a State, Friendly relations with foreign States,
Public Order, Decency and Morality, Contempt of Court, Defamation offences against integrity
and Sovereignty of India.

Meaning and Scope of Speech and expression:

The term freedom of Speech and Expression includes---
a. Right to have opinions
b. Right to express them freely
c. Through the medium of writing, print, television, radio, Internet etc..
d. Restricted to the extent of not adversity affecting freedom of others to live with peace and
Thus from the above freedom of speech and expression means the right to express ones
own opinions freely by word of mouth, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode. It thus
includes the expression of ones ideas through any communable medium or visible
representations, such as, gesture, signs and the like.

Article 19 (1) (a) has 4 Broad Special Purposes to Serve:

The freedom of speech and expression has four broad principles to serve:
1. It helps an individual to attain self- fulfillment;
2. It assists in the discovery of truth
3. It strengthen the capacity of an individual in participating in the decision making
4. It provides a mechanism by which it would be possible to establish a reasonable balance
between stability and social change.
All members of society should be able to form their own beliefs and communicate them freely
to others. In sum, the fundamental principle involved here is the peoples right to know. Freedom
of speech and expression should, therefore, receive generous support from all those who believe
in the participation of people in the administration. It is an account of this special interest which
society has in the freedom of speech and expression that the approach of the Government should
be more cautious while levying taxes on matters of concerning newspaper industry than while
levying taxes on other matter.
In Prabhu Dutt v/s Union of India: In this case the Supreme Court of India has held that the
right to know the news and information regarding administration of the government is included in
the freedom of press. But this right is not absolute reasonable restrictions can be imposed on it in
the interest of the society.
The Right to Information Act, 2005 repeals the Freedom of Information Act, 2002 which was
passed by the previous NDA Government. This legislation entitles every citizen to have access to
information controlled by public authorities. Under this Act, it is obligatory upon authority to
provide information and maintain records consistent with its operational needs. The object of this
Act is to promote openness, transparency and accountability in administration.
Apart from Right to Information Act, 2005, a right to vote being a fundamental right every voter
has got the right to know about their candidates.
Freedom of press
The fundamental right of the freedom of the press implicit in the right the freedom of speech
and expression is essential for political liberty and proper functioning of democracy. Article 19(1)
(a) of the constitution does not expressly mentioned the liberty of press but it has been held that
liberty of press is included in freedom of speech and expression. Freedom of the press is essential
to political liberty. When man cannot freely convey their thoughts to one another, no freedom is
secured, where freedom of expression exists the beginning of a free society and means for every
retention of liberty are already present.
The liberty of press means liberty to print and publish what one pleases, without previous
permission. The freedom of the press is not confined to only newspapers and periodicals. It
includes also pamphlets and circulars and every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of
information and opinions.
In State v/s Charita: The Supreme Court has held that the press do not have an unfettered
right to interview an under trial prisoner in jail. Thus where the trial of the accused was pending
before the Additional Session Judge, he had the authority to grant permission to the press to
interview the under trial inside the jail. The court while granting permission, will have to weigh
the competing interest between the right to press and the right of the authorities prohibiting such
interview in the interest of administration of justice.
Indian Express Newspapers v/s Union of India: speaking about the utility of freedom of
press the Court observed The expression Freedom of Press has not been used in Article 19 but it
is comprehended within Article 19(1) (a)
Freedom of press has always been a cherished right on all democratic countries. The
newspaper not only survey news but also ideas, opinion and ideologies, besides much else. They
are supposed to guard public interest by bringing to force misdeeds, failings and lapses of the
government and other bodies exercising governing power.
Bennet Coleman and Company v/s Union of India [Freedom of Press News Print Case]:
The validity of the newsprint Control Order which fixed the maximum number of pages (10
pages) which a newspaper could publish was challenged as violative of fundamental rights
guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (a) and Article 14 of the Constitution. The Court held that the
newsprint policy was not reasonable restriction within the ambit of Article 19(2).
R. Rajagopal v/s State of T.N. (Auto Shankar Case): The Supreme Court has held that the
Government has no authority in law to impose a prior-restraint upon publication of defamatory
materials against its officials. Public authorities who apprehended that they or their colleagues
may be defamed could not prevent the press from publication of such materials, could take action
for damages after the publications of such materials if they prove that the publication was based
on false facts. The court held that no action could be initiated against the press if the publication
was based on public records including court records.
Freedom of speech includes freedom of silence. In Bijoe Emmanuel v/s State of Kerala
[National Anthem Case] the Supreme Court held that no person can be compelled to sing National
Anthem, If he has genuine conscientious objections based on his religious faith.

Grounds for Restrictions under Article 19(2):

Clause (2) of Article 19 contains the grounds on which restrictions on the freedom of
speech and expression can be imposed:-
Security of the State:
Under Clause (2) of Article 19 reasonable restrictions can be imposed on freedom of
speech and expression in the interest of Security of State. The term security of state means
only serious and aggravated forms of public disorder, e.g., rebellion, waging war against the
state breach of public peace.
Friendly relation with Foreign States:
The object behind this restriction is to prohibit unrestrained malicious propaganda
against a foreign friendly State which may jeopardize the maintenance of good relations
between India and that State.
Public Order:
Public order is something more than ordinary maintenance of law and order. Public
order is synonymous with public peace, safety and tranquility. In the interest of public
order restrictions can be imposed on freedom of speech and expression.
Decency of Morality:
The restrictions can be imposed on the freedom of speech and expression in the
interest of decency of morality. Publication of obscene if it tends to produce lascivious
thoughts and arouses lustful desire in the minds of substantial numbers of that public into
whose hand the book is likely to fall.
Contempt of Court.
Restriction on the freedom of speech and expression can be imposed if it exceeds the
reasonable and fair limit and amounts to contempt of court.
A statement which injures mans reputation amounts to defamation. Defamation
consists in exposing a man hatred, ridicule or contempt.
Incitement of an offence[motivating to commit offences]:
This ground was added by first amendment Act, 1951. Obviously freedom of speech
and expression cannot confer a licence to incite people to commit offences.
Sovereignty and Integrity of India:
The freedom of speech and expression can be restricted so as not to permit to anyone to
challenge the integrity or sovereignty of India or to preach cession of any part of India from the

Freedom of speech and of the press lay at the foundation of all democratic organisations,
for without free political discussion no public education, so, essential for the proper functioning of
the process of popular Government, is possible.