Breaking The Unreasonable Boundaries Of Freedom Of Speech And Expression
Recently, a progressive judgment has come from the Kerala High Court that
widens up the freedom of expression that if the upper body of a woman is naked
then it shouldnï¿½t be tied to sex and thus, not be considered obscene. This
judgment is to be accepted positively if we consider ourselves as the largest
The judgment not only spearheads the freedom of speech and expression but also
gender equality in the way that if men in our society are allowed to expose
their upper body then why not women? Even at the international level, women are
being vocal about this matter. Freedom of speech and expression is one of the
basic human rights. This right is very much important for human development. All
the democratic countries provide this right to their people.
In India, it is granted under Article 19 (1) (a) of the constitution which
provides that all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and
expression as no right can be absolute, it is also subjected to reasonable
restrictions given under Article 19 (2), which includes sovereignty and
integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign
states, public order, decency or morality, contempt of court, defamation or
incitement to an offence. Universal Declaration of human rights talks about the
right to freedom of speech and expression to be available to all the humans
under Article 19.
Freedom of speech and expression has been one of the controversial rights, not
only in India but also at global level. Those who want to keep this freedom
narrow, argue that it should be exercised keeping in view the overall society
and the sentiments of no person should be hurt.
But this is not the right approach because if this freedom is to be exercised
according to how the society or a section of society wants it to be exercised,
this freedom loses its essence and it is no more a freedom. Restrictions should
be applied in rare circumstances and the focus should be on promoting this
freedom more and more because as we have reached the fourth stage of the
industrial revolution, we shouldnï¿½t be talking about a particular statement,
book, movie or any other creation is hurting the feelings or sentiments of a
particular community and should be averted even if the statement has been made
in good faith and not maliciously.
Many instances have been seen regarding the banning of films, books, and other
creations. Not only this but the attacks have been carried out on those
exercising the freedom of speech and expression in the way that society or a
section of society doesnï¿½t accept. Salman Rushdie was stabbed more than 10 times
just for expressing views in his book ï¿½THE SATANIC VERSESï¿½ when he was about to
give a public lecture at ï¿½CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTIONï¿½ in New York, USA.
We are living in the world of A.I. and such instances insult the sanctity of the
right to freedom of speech and expression, rather, inflict death on it. We need
to take this freedom in a more liberal sense rather than limiting it to what is
acceptable by the society otherwise the social progress would be hindered. We
will reach the heights of technology but would remain conservative if the narrow
sense of freedom of speech and expression continues.
Thus, itï¿½s the high time for everyone to be liberal and if a statement, book,
movie, etc. is disliked by someone, a healthy approach would be taking to
criticism and promoting the freedom to speak and express.
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