Sedition charges on a central minister by junior member of judiciary is attack on freedom of expression


Whether to slap sedition charges on a central
minister for expressing his view points on verdict delivered by constitution
bench of apex court is justified.
Whether such act of a judicial member is not
violation of right to freedom of expression which is fundamental right of a
citizen of India. In the view of erring judicial member, all those aggrieved
file a suit against a judgement commit sedition although it is done in order to
seek justice. In my individual view , judicial member has set up a bad
precedent because of his little knowledge and less experience. In taking such
steps he ought to  take advice of his
seniors.
Whether
junior member of judiciary even for a moment considered the consequences of
this emotional step taken in order please their bosses.
NEW
DELHI: A UP court has slapped sedition charges on finance minister Arun Jaitley
for
criticizing
the Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down the National Judicial
Appointments
Commission
(NJAC) for selection of judges to the higher judiciary.
Taking suo motu cognizance of Jaitley’s criticism of the verdict, civil judge of
Mahoba in Jhansi
district
Ankit Goel summoned him to be present before him on November 19. Goel had
earlier
issued
summons against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for his purported comment that
allegations
of gang rape could often be fabricated.
The Constitution of India provides the right to freedom,
given in articles 19, 20, 21 and 22, with the view of guaranteeing individual
rights that were considered vital by the framers of the constitution. The right
to freedom in Article 19 guarantees the 
Freedom of speech andexpression, as one of its six freedoms.[1]
In a landmark judgement of the case Maneka
Gandhi v. Union of India
,[2] the Supreme Court held that the freedom of
speech and expression has no geographical limitation and it carries with it the
right of a citizen to gather information and to exchange thought with others
not only in India but abroad also.
In Romesh Thapar v.
State of Madras
,[4] Patanjali Shastri, CJ observed: “ Freedom of
speech and of the press lay at the foundation of all democratic organisations,
for without free political discussion no public education, so essential for the
proper functioning of the process of popular government, is possible.”
American Supreme Court (Frankfurter, J.) in Pennekamp v. Florida (328 US 331 : 90 L Ed 1295 (1946)) in
which the United States Supreme Court observed: “If men, including judges and
journalists, were angels, there would be no problem of contempt of court.
Angelic judges would be undisturbed by extraneous influences and angelic
journalists would not seek to influence them. The power to punish for contempt,
as a means of safeguarding judges in deciding on behalf of the community as
impartially as is given to the lot of men to decide, is not a privilege accorded
to judges. The power to punish for contempt of court is a safeguard not for
judges as persons but for the function which they exercise”.
Freedom of expression
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights
(UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
guarantee the right to freedom of expression, both in Article 19. Freedom of
expression is not only important in its own right but is also essential if
other human rights are to be achieved.
FOR INDIVIDUALS
At an individual level, freedom of expression is key to the
development, dignity and fulfilment of every person.
  • People can gain an
    understanding of their surroundings and the wider world by exchanging
    ideas and information freely with others. This makes them more able to
    plan their lives and to work
  • People feel more secure and
    respected by the state if they are able to speak their minds.
FOR STATES
At a national level, freedom of expression is necessary for good
government and therefore for economic and social progress.
Freedom of expression and freedom of information contribute to
the quality of government in various ways:
  1. They help ensure that competent and
    honest people administer the state. In a democracy, free debate about and
    between political parties exposes their strengths and weaknesses. This
    enables voters to form an opinion about who is best qualified to run the country
    and to vote accordingly. Media scrutiny of the government and the
    opposition helps expose corruption or other improprieties and prevents a
    culture of dishonesty
  2. They
    promote good governance by enabling citizens to raise their concerns with
    the authorities. If people can speak their minds without fear, and the
    media are allowed to report what is being said, the government can become
    aware of any concerns and address them.
  3. They
    ensure that new policies and legislation are carefully considered. Through
    public debate, members of the public with helpful opinions on a subject
    can present the government with a ‘marketplace of ideas’ from which to
    choose. Free debate about new legislation also helps ensure that the
    eventual law has the support of the population, making it more likely to
    be respected.
  4. They
    promote the implementation of other human rights. They help improve
    government policy in all areas, including human rights. They also enable
    journalists and activists to highlight human rights issues and abuses and
    persuade the government to take action.

For all these reasons, the international community has
recognised freedom of expression and freedom of information as some of the most
important human rights.

2 comments on Sedition charges on a central minister by junior member of judiciary is attack on freedom of expression

  1. Freedom of expression and freedom of information contribute to the quality of government in various ways:
    They help ensure that competent and honest people administer the state. In a democracy, free debate about and between political parties exposes their strengths and weaknesses. This enables voters to form an opinion about who is best qualified to run the country and to vote accordingly. Media scrutiny of the government and the opposition helps expose corruption or other improprieties and prevents a culture of dishonesty

  2. Right to freedom of expression and opinion is fundamental righ which ought to be protected by apex court of India but what could be done if its subordinate judicial member of lower court is making mockery of fundamental rights. Just and fair criticism is the integral part of sound judicial system. At least judges experience/feel the lacunae made during the delivery of judgements by them. Here judges think that they can never commit mistake so they don't tolerate if some one criticise their judgements.

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