Like the New York Times v. Sullivan case fifty years ago, The Wire defamation case too is about the “breathing space” of free speech, criticism and truth.
It is clear that the law requires an active act of disturbance to constitute an offence, but does it include a quiet refusal to stand for the national anthem?
Lawrence Liang, lawyer and legal researcher, discusses the history of free speech, sedition and hate speech laws in India and the United States.
It is clear that freedom of speech and expression within the Indian legal tradition includes within its ambit any form of criticism, dissent and protest. It cannot be held hostage to narrow ideas of what constitutes “anti national” speech.
Mere words and phrases by themselves, no matter how distasteful, do not amount to a criminal offence unless they are being used to incite mobs or crowds to violent action.
Dwijen Rangnekar, intellectual property law scholar and Feni aficionado, passed away on October 30
The moral paternalism implicit in the government’s order blocking access to 857 websites is what makes it a naïve and simplistic response to a genuine problem