What is the right to freedom of speech and expression?
Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution gives the citizens of this country the right to express their opinions and their viewpoints either through speech or through visual depiction or through writings.
This right however has been expanded by the judiciary to include much much more, such as the freedom of press, the freedom to fly our national flag etc..
But this right is not absolute!
It comes under reasonable restrictions. Here are a few of them,
1. Decency and morality
3. Public order
With respect to the current scenario involving the member of the online satire group A.I.B
What was this individual trying to express?
1. His opinion and
2. His point of view
Were his opinions distasteful?
Perhaps yes, but doesn’t article 19(1)(a) give even this individual the right to express his opinion?
We may disagree and disagreement is health. As Voltaire once said ,”I disagree with what you say, but I will defend till death your right to say it”.
But who are these people who are offended by this?
The citizens of our country who consider them national icons who cannot be denigrated in this manner. The two Bharat Ratnas who have brought laurels to this nation cannot be hurled with obscenities. Calling for the death of a legend is simply not the freedom of speech and expression.
Whether this is a violation of speech and expression is not our point of discussion although public order can be vitiated because peoples sentiments are attached with them and remember on the basis of public order, restrictions can be imposed on your freedom of speech and expression.
But the larger point here is, What is the message that we are sending across?
Where are we headed towards an intolerant society?
If you didn’t like the A.I.B video, dislike it and unsubscribe from their channel, write about it, tweet about it but do not threaten physical violence.
If insult is non justifiable how can physical violence be?