Restriction on Freedom of Speech and Expression

ForumIAS announcing GS Foundation Program for UPSC CSE 2025-26 from 26th June. Click Here for more information.

Article 19 (2) contains the grounds on which restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression can be imposed –

  • Security of State:Under Article 19(2) reasonable restrictions can be imposed on freedom of speech and expression in the interest of security of State. The term “security of state” refers only to serious and aggravated forms of public order e.g. rebellion, waging war against the State, insurrection and not ordinary breaches of public order and public safety.
  • Friendly relations with foreign states: Added by the constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951 It prohibits unrestrained malicious propaganda against a foreign friendly state, which may jeopardize the maintenance of good relations between India, and that state. No similar provision is present in any other Constitution of the world.
  • Public Order: Added by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act. ‘Public order’ is an expression of wide connotation and signifies “that state of tranquility which prevails among the members of political society as a result of internal regulations enforced by the Government which they have established.”
  • Decency or morality: Sections 292 to 294 of the Indian Penal Code provide instances of restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression in the interest of decency or morality. These sections prohibit the sale or distribution or exhibition of obscene words, etc. in public places.
  • Contempt of Court: According to the Section 2 ‘Contempt of court’ may be either ‘civil contempt’ or ‘criminal contempt.’
  • Defamation:A statement, which injures a man’s reputation, amounts to defamation. Defamation consists in exposing a man to hatred, ridicule, or contempt. The civil law in relating to defamation is still uncodified in India and subject to certain exceptions.
  • Incitement to an offence: Added by the constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951. The word ‘offence’ is defined as any act or omission made punishable by law for the time being in force.
  • Sedition: As understood by English law, sedition embraces all those practices whether by words, or writing which are calculated to disturb the tranquility of the State and lead ignorant person to subvert the government. It should be noted that the sedition is not mentioned in clause (2) of Art. 19 as one of the grounds on which restrictions on freedom of speech and expression may be imposed.
Print Friendly and PDF
Blog
Academy
Community