Question: “Freedom of speech can be restricted only in the interest of the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense.” Elucidate the above statement with suitable case laws in relation to the freedom of the press. [UPJS 2015]… Read More »

Question: “Freedom of speech can be restricted only in the interest of the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense.” Elucidate the above statement with suitable case laws in relation to the freedom of the press. [UPJS 2015] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [“Freedom of speech can be restricted only in the interest of the security...

Question: “Freedom of speech can be restricted only in the interest of the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense.” Elucidate the above statement with suitable case laws in relation to the freedom of the press. [UPJS 2015]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [“Freedom of speech can be restricted only in the interest of the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense.” Elucidate the above statement with suitable case laws in relation to the freedom of the press. [UPJS 2015]

Answer

Freedom of the press is not specifically mentioned in Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution and what is mentioned there is only freedom of speech and expression. However, the framers of the Indian constitution considered freedom of the press as an essential part of the freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed in Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution. This has been observed by even the Judiciary through the pronouncement of various landmark judgments, giving the freedom of the press a significant place in our constitution.

One of the earliest case laws on the liberty of speech and expression is Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras [(1950) S.C.R. 594.], in which the Apex Court held that freedom of speech lay at the foundation of all democratic organizations. The right, even though not absolute in nature, needs to be encouraged and used by the citizens of a democracy. It was observed in the case that freedom of speech and expression included propagation of ideas and that freedom is ensured by the freedom of circulation.

It is clear that the right to freedom of speech and expression carries with it the right to publish and circulate one’s ideas, opinions, and other views with complete freedom and by resorting to all available means of publication. The right to freedom of the press includes the right to propagate ideas and views and to publish and circulate them.

However, the freedom of the press is not absolute, just as the freedom of expression is not. Public Interest has to be safeguard by article 19(1)(2) which lays down reasonable limitations to the freedom of expression in matters affecting:

  1. Sovereignty and integrity of the State
  2. Security of the State
  3. Friendly relations with foreign countries
  4. Public order
  5. Decency and morality
  6. Contempt of court
  7. Defamation
  8. Incitement to an offense

The phrase “reasonable restriction” connotes that the limitation imposed on a person in the enjoyment of the right should not be arbitrary or of an excessive nature, beyond what is required in the interests of the public. Freedom of the press has three essential elements. They are:

  1. Freedom of access to all sources of information,
  2. Freedom of publication, and
  3. Freedom of circulation.

In Sakal Papers v. Union of India [A.I.R. 1962 SC 305], the Daily Newspapers (Price and Page) Order, 1960, which fixed the number of pages and size which a newspaper could publish at a price was held to be violative of freedom of the press and not a reasonable restriction under the Article 19(2). Similarly, in Bennett Coleman and Co. v. Union of India [(1972) 2 SCC 78], the validity of the Newsprint Control Order, which fixed the maximum number of pages, was struck down by the Court holding it to be violative of provision of Article 19(1)(a) and not to be reasonable restriction under Article 19(2). The Court also rejected the plea of the Government that it would help small newspapers to grow.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  3. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-II
  4. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-05-28T04:08:24+05:30
Admin LB

Admin LB

Next Story