LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

Maneesh mv (Student)     12 December 2020

Free speech

Can free speech of an individual be curtailed due to fear of mob violence, like if a person’s statement is likely to cause mass mob rebellion can his right be curtailed?


 4 Replies

175B083 Mahesh P S   12 December 2020


The answer is no.

The citizens of this democratic nation have a guaranteed right to freedom of speech and expression,this is indeed an axiom of the Indian constitutional jurisprudence.

It is one of the key fundamental rights under part 3 of the constitution . Article 19 can basically be divided into two parts ,wherein Article 19(1) is concerned with the rights of the citizens and Article 19(1) to19(6) is pertaining to the rights of the state with respect to imposing certain reasonable restrictions on the freedoms of the citizens.

This right empowers the citizens to enjoy a certain degree of free speech,But the extent of applicability is often in question.What may be free speech to one individual would on the other hand be distasteful or obnoxious to another individual or a particular section of the society.

So there comes a question whether free speech can be curtailed by fear of outrage from a certain section of the society.



In the case of Indibility Creative Pvt Ltd v. Govt of West Bengal ,The Supreme Court bench comprising of justice Hemanth Gupta and Justice D Y Chandrachud stated that the right to free speech cannot be curtailed by fear of mob violence. 

The Petitioners were producers of the Bengali film, Bhobishyoter Bhoot (‘Future Ghosts’).The West Bengal government had imposed an unofficial ban on the release of this film stating law and order issues,the police authorities coerced the movie screens to withdraw this film.

The main issue in front of the court here was, whether the the state and its agencies had resorted to “extra constitutional means to abrogate the fundamental rights of the producer, director and the viewers.”

The Court began by surveying philosophical and literary writings, citing among many others Voltaire, Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir, to establish the value of free speech within a democratic society. It recalled in particular that the right to freedom of expression includes the extending of protections to speech that we the hate, “this his principle is at the heart of democracy, a basic human right, and its protection is a mark of a civilized and tolerant society.”

The Supreme court here also stated that “the police are not in a free society the self-appointed guardians of public morality. The uniformed authority of their force is subject to the rule of law. They cannot arrogate to themselves the authority to be willing allies in the suppression of dissent and obstruction of speech and expression”.

The Court also found the State 's inability to provide adequate security to the film's exhibition. To ensure the effective exercise of this right, it was deemed necessary to read 'positive expectations' into the right to freedom of speech and expression.


Thank you

1 Like

P. Venu (Advocate)     13 December 2020

What are the facts? What is the context?

Vineet Gupta   13 December 2020

depends. if someone acts on that speech then it can be curtailed but many people use sedition even when no body acts persuant to the speech. you can refer kharak singhs case

Dr J C Vashista (Advocate)     14 December 2020

Very well explained by expert Mr. Mahesh PS, I concur and appreciate

@ Maneesh 

What is the advise of your professor /tutor ?

You will appreciate the fact that this platform is meant for needy litigants but not a coaching site.

Leave a reply

Your are not logged in . Please login to post replies

Click here to Login / Register