This article is written by Astha Chaurasia currently pursuing BA LLB from Lloyd Law College. This is an article which deals with the concept Freedom of speech and expression.
The freedom of speech and expression is very important fundamental right under the constitution. It is said that in a democracy the right to free expression is not only the right of an individual but rather a right of the community to hear and be informed. The freedom of speech is regarded as the first condition of liberty. It is truly said about the freedom of speech that is the hierarchy of the liberty.
Meaning as a legal perspective
The constitution of India guarantees various fundamental rights to the citizens. One such important right is right to freedoms under the Article 19. This includes right to freedom of speech and expression right to assemble peacefully. Article 19(1) (a) guarantees that all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression. The freedom of speech and expression means the right to express one’s conviction and opinions freely by words of mouth, writing, pictures, and other mode. Freedom of speech opens up channels of free discussions of issues and plays a crucial role in public opinion on social, political, and economic matters. In one of the earliest judgments Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras it observed that the freedom lay at foundation of all democratic organizations for without free political discussion, no public education, so essential for the proper functioning of the process of popular government is possible. In same judgment, the court held that the public interest in freedom stems from the requirement that members of the democratic society should be sufficiently informed that they may influence the decisions which may affect themselves. Freedom of speech and expression provides a right to speak for their interest.
The freedom of speech and expression should, therefore, receive a generous support from all those who believe in the participation of people in the administration. The freedom of speech is that freedom which promotes the rights of the people to speak for their interest. The concept of freedom of expression does not take the form of positive or enforceable right. The judiciary has been enlarging the area covered by the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. Freedom of speech and expression is a vital feature that a democracy runs with. This very important feature of the freedom of speech and expression is enshrined to the Indian citizens by Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution of India. The scope of freedom of speech and expression the Supreme Court at many times has said that the words freedom of speech and expression must be broadly constructed to include the freedom to circulate one’s views by words of mouth or in writing or through audio-visual instrumentalities.
Freedom of press
In Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India guarantees the freedom of speech and expression but not expressly included the freedom of press. The freedom of expression, thus, includes the freedom to propagate one’s own view and the views of other’s and freedom to communicate views to others. Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression only to human beings who are citizens and non citizen Nationals and foreigners do not enjoy the right. The Supreme Court also dealt with the contention the news print policy does not directly deal with fundamental right mentioned in Article 19(1)(a). It was also contended that regulatory statues which do not control the content of speech but incidentally limit the ventured exercise are not regarded as a type of law.
The freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights. The freedom of speech and expression is playing a vital role in the Constitution it provide a right for expressing their views. One of the purposes of making laws like the right to information, which is primarily a human right, is to help create this culture. A freedom of speech asserts some range of protection for speech that goes beyond limitations on Government interferences and other activities. It is necessary to maintain and preserve freedom of speech and expression in a democracy.