Home       Top Rated       Submit Article     Advanced Search     FAQ       Contact Us       Lawyers in India       Law Forum     RSS Feeds     

Register your Copyright Online

We offer copyright registration right from your desktop click here for details.

Latest Articles | Articles 2014 | Articles 2013 | Articles 2012 | Articles 2011 | Articles 2010 | Articles 2009 | Articles 2008 | Articles 2007 | Articles 2006 | Articles 2000-05

Search On:Laws in IndiaLawyers Search

Mutual Consent Divorce in Delhi
We provide fast, cost effective and Hassle free solution.
Contact us at Ph no: 9650499965 (Divorce Law Firm Delhi)
File Caveat in Supreme Court
Contact Ph no: +9650499965

Main Categories
 Accident Law
 Animal Laws
 Aviation Law
 Bangladesh Law
 Banking and Finance laws
 Case Laws
 Civil Laws
 Company Law
 Constitutional Law
 Consumer laws
 Contracts laws
 Criminal law
 Drug laws
 Dubai laws
 Educational laws
 Employment / Labour laws
 Environmental Law
 family law
 Gay laws and Third Gender
 Human Rights laws
 Immigration laws
 Insurance / Accident Claim
 Intellectual Property
 International Law
 Juvenile Laws
 Law - lawyers & legal Profession
 Legal Aid and Lok Adalat
 Legal outsourcing
 Media laws
 Medico legal
 Pakistan laws
 Real estate laws
 Right To Information
 Tax Laws
 Torts Law
 Woman Issues
 Workplace Equality & Non-Discrimination
 Yet Another Category

More Options
 Most read articles
 Most rated articles

Subscribe now and receive free articles and updates instantly.


Published : April 19, 2017 | Author : nirbhayphusate
Category : Constitutional Law | Total Views : 4045 | Rating :

I'm a 4th year Law student studying BLS LLB from Government Law College, Mumbai

Freedom of expression - Democracy

“It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own.” – Herbert hoover

Meaning and definition:
The Duhaime’s law dictionary defines speech as ‘The expression of an idea in circumstances where it is likely that the message would be understood’.

In general sense it can be said that “Speech is the expression of ideas, thoughts and opinions of one’s to the public” by the medium of words of mouth, writing, printing, picture, film, movie etc

Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”


Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution states that “ All citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression”

Where Article 19(1)(a) gives us a fundamental right to speech and expression it also has some restrictions under Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India, which states that the State may make a law imposing “reasonable restrictions” on the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression “in the interest of” the public on the following grounds:

1. Security of State
2. Friendly relations with foreign states
3. Public Order
4. Decency or morality
5. Contempt of Court
6. Defamation
7. Incitement to an offense Sovereignty and integrity of India.

Section 499 of The Indian Penal Code:

Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person.

Section 500 of The Indian Penal Code:

Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both

Importance of speech and expression:
The right to expression is essential for our autonomy and free will, to an individual's right to self-development, and to truth seeking.

If citizens are to be able to rule as democracy requires, it's after all the rule of the people by the people. If citizens are to be able to rule, they must be able to communicate freely, including with those that they elect and who govern them. They must be free to criticize, question challenge, all of which requires full access to information and ideas. Freedom of expression teaches tolerance and build tolerant societies.

Political speech:
It's a type of expression which is accorded higher level of protection under international human rights law, than other forms of expression.

Unlike a private citizen, politicians inevitably and knowingly should open themselves to close scrutiny of their words and of their actions by journalists and the public at large. And they must consequently display a greater degree of tolerance to criticism or indeed thick skin.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee insists that "all public figures including those exercising the highest political authority such as heads of state and governments are legally subject to criticism and political opposition."

African court of human rights ruled that: "People who assume highly visible public role must necessarily face a higher degree of criticism than private citizens; otherwise public debate may be stifled altogether."

Freedom of expression in Digital age:

A study done by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), World Bank, and United Nations Population Division revealed that around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today .In 1995, it was less than 1%. With the growth of technology the freedom of expression has taken a massive turn in online world. Many of the Defamation cases are nowadays due to expression of thoughts online through social media, internet etc. It is difficult for the court and judges to infer who the real culprit is and who should be punished. Is the Internet provider or the search Database engine or social network app or the publisher responsible for the act or are they all responsible for the act? Retweets, sharing and copy pasting of thoughts have led to suspense whether who the actual publisher is. With the development in the technology and with the help of cyber cells, the IP address can be tracked and who published the article first can be tracked within minutes. Another problem was about the jurisdiction of courts, if the publisher publishes online defamatory statement from London when he himself is a Indian who shifted to the other country. Which court had the jurisdiction? So there is a need of a common International law on Cyber crime in this digital age.

In recent years it has been seen that political parties have become so intolerable to matters against them that they choose violence over citizens and it has been found that most of the aggrieved parties had just expressed their general views on social media. Sometimes it is seen that illiterate political supporters who lack the basic knowledge of English language infer some different meaning of tweets, statements by people posting online.

Landmark case in the digital era,
The Supreme Court, in Shreya Singhal Vs Union of India, has stepped to the fore with a delightful affirmation of the value of free speech and expression, quashing, as unconstitutional, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act). Section 66A had attained particular infamy after the arrests by the Mumbai police in November 2012 of two women who had expressed their displeasure at a bandh called in the wake of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s death. Since then, several arrests have been made by different State police, of various individuals, for the most benign dissemination of online content. The court concluded that Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 is struck down in its entirety being violative of Article 19(1)(a) and not saved under Article 19(2).

Censorship by states:

By censoring freedom of expression and information, governments or other actors violates that capacity of individuals to make decisions for themselves. This violates those individual's autonomy and they violate their dignity. Put in more simple terms, through censorship, governments and other people deny individuals their autonomy. They treat adult individuals like children.

In the same manner as malnutrition stops the body from growing and resisting disease, censorship impairs the mind from learning and developing. Censorship is the sting leading the puppet. It prevents our autonomy, denies our free will, and undermines our freedom of action.

By preventing the realization of our autonomy, censorship prevents us from seeking and accessing knowledge and ultimately from seeking and accessing truth.

When a discussion is made through the process of open discussion we find out what we ourselves think and we are then able to compare that with what others think on the same issues. The end result of this process, we hope, is that we will arrive at as close an approximation of the truth as we can.

Conclusion: Democracy lies in the hands of the people and the right to freedom of expressions plays a vital key role in the proper smooth functioning of the state. If the state does not function properly and is distracted from what it is obliged to do, it is the duty of the common people to make them remember. Freedom of speech is a medium given to us to live with dignity than merely existence. “Democracy is no democracy without free speech and expression”. Many times this freedom of expression and speech has been used by the corrupted people to lure the poor people and bring communal tensions. It has been seen that politicians have been using provocative speeches against other communities for the sake of their vote banks. So it is a necessity to maintain the balance. Freedom of speech is the expression where one conveys other what their views on a topic are. These views are sometimes revolutionary as in the case of the Great Martin Luther King where his famous speech ‘I have a Dream’ had a huge impact on the whole community, whereas on the other side the Nazi Party of Hitler had a different side. Hitler’s speeches provoked the people of the Nazi party to kill Jews and rest is the history. Judicial Activism has a greater role than the state to bring a balance and to decide when a reasonable restriction should be imposed. As George Washington said “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

# http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/S/Speech.aspx
# Alexander Radishchev
# Lohé Issa Konaté v Burkina Faso (Application No 004/2013 Shreya Singhal vs Union of India 2015. Constitution of India The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),1948 http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-judgment-that-silenced-section-66a/article7032656.ece https://producaoindustrialblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/internet-users/ The Indian Penal Code,1960


1 2 3 4 5
Rate this article!     Poor

Most viewed articles in Constitutional Law category
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, The Father of Indian Constitution
Right To Privacy Under Article 21 and the Related Conflicts
Principles of Natural Justice In Indian Constitution
Position of Fundamental Rights during Emergency
Prospective Vs. Retrospective
Reasonable Classification under article 14
Concept of Welfare State and Its Relevance in Indian Scenario
Three types of emergencies under the Indian Constitution
Emergence of Article 31 A, B and C and its validity
Vulnerable Groups in India - Status, Schemes, Constitution of India
Doctrine of Pleasure as under the Indian Constitution
Maneka Gandhi
Election Commission of India
Critical Analysis on Reservation Policy in India
Res Sub Judice, Res Judicata and Constructive Res Judicata
Most recent articles in Constitutional Law category
Remedy of Compensation under Article 32
Procedures and Powers of Claim Tribunals
Central State Relation - Legislative, Administrative and Financial
Freedom of expression - Democracy
Right To Privacy A Fundamental Right-Uidai Violative of Individuals Right To Privacy
Debate over Sitting or Standing at Cinema Hall Whether Violation of Right to freedom of Speech and Expression
Voting Rights in India to Non-Resident Indians
Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right - A Study
Freedom of Religion
Article 44 of Constitution: A Dead Letter to be Retrieved
Fundamental Right of The Child To Education in Andaman And Nicobar Islands
Transfer Petition in India
Role of Writs In Administrative Law
The Importance of Article 370
Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint
Fundamental Duties Under Article 51-A

Article Comments

there are no comments...

Post Your Comments


Your comments

Note : Your email address is only visible to admin, other members / users cannot see it.

You can use following FXCodes

BOLD : [b]
Italic : [i]

[b] Legal Services India [/b] is a [i]nice website[/i].
[url= http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/ ]click here to visit.[/url]

Legal Services India is a nice website.
Click here to visit


Note : Currently, user comments are moderated and will be posted only after approval.

Please login or register a new free account.

Random Pick
The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI) is a law enacted by the Parliament of India "to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens...

» Total Articles
» Total Authors
» Total Views
» Total categories

Law Forum

Legal Articles

Lawyers in India- Click on a link below for legal Services

lawyers in Chennai
lawyers in Bangalore
lawyers in Hyderabad
lawyers in Cochin
lawyers in Pondicherry
lawyers in Guwahati
lawyers in Nashik

lawyers in Jaipur
lawyers in New Delhi
lawyers in Dimapur
lawyers in Agra
Noida lawyers
lawyers in Siliguri

For Mutual consent Divorce in Delhi

Ph no: 9650499965
For online Copyright Registration

Ph no: 9891244487
Law Articles

lawyers in Delhi
lawyers in Chandigarh
lawyers in Allahabad
lawyers in Lucknow
lawyers in Jodhpur
Faridabad lawyers

lawyers in Mumbai
lawyers in Pune
lawyers in Nagpur
lawyers in Ahmedabad
lawyers in Surat
Ghaziabad lawyers

lawyers in Kolkata
lawyers in Janjgir
lawyers in Rajkot
lawyers in Indore
lawyers in Ludhiana
Gurgaon lawyers


India's Most Trusted Online law library
Legal Services India is Copyrighted under the Registrar of Copyright Act ( Govt of India) 2000-2017
 ISBN No: 978-81-928510-1-3