The Myth of Freedom of Speech and Expression in India
The freedom of making speech and argue freely along with being expressive about every undertakings is the birth right of every individual, which is further legitimized by the laws of democratic and liberal country. India being world’s largest democracy has equipped its citizens with freedom of speech and expression as Fundamental Rights as per Article 19 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution. Nonetheless, these rights are not absolute unlike other liberal countries and citizens are condemned to refrain from making speeches or expressions that may incite violence or pose a threat to the stabilized sovereignty, thereby empowering the Government to impose reasonable restrictions on these freedoms. The Government since past few decades seem to abuse these rights in the name of protecting the sovereignty and public order. The prevailing scenario related to the environment of free speech has become volatile especially under the Narendra Modi led BJP Government at the Central. The transformation of the status of India from being a “Free Nation” to “Partly Free Nation” is highly alarming. Resisting people to express their own opinion against the deeds of Government along with the media to cover the actual events and stating facts as news and filing cases against them under several draconian laws especially Sedition is indeed making the myth of freedom of speech and expression apparent. Henceforth, the need of the hour seems to be the scrutiny of the vile laws of stifling freedom of speech and expression of the citizens and enabling the judiciary to resort to effective solutions instead of turning a blind eye.
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
– John Milton
Keywords - Freedom of Speech, Fundamental Rights, Law of Sedition, Environment of Free Speech, Stifling Dissent