Freedom of speech and expression
Expression our right
There are certain questions which keep pinching our younger generation as they fail to understand the meaning of it. Actually they feel more confused when they see the fundamental right being misused in this virtual world. The right to freedom of expression is not only being misused but in some places, it is over-used for personal gains by influential ones, those are more confusing in many ways.
President of United States of America George Washington once said that if we are deprived of freedom of speech, we should be like the sheep under the knife of butcher. It is more appropriate for countries/societies where fundamental rights, expressions and speech are not included in their constitutions.
I must say India is not among the countries where this right is not available to its citizens as our constitution provides us to speak and express our emotions freely. We have right to show our thoughts to others and even protest peacefully if we feel that we are not getting what we deserve. We are free to oppose governments or other organizations if we feel they are not acting as they should or our basic rights are not looked after properly. However we as a society are not fully aware about our rights or on the contrary we are overusing it in some cases. Let’s see where we err on such issues.
We can share our views freely
There is no geographical limit to share our views as such; we can share our views with any one anywhere in the world without any hesitation as long as we do not violate the laws of the land, here or there. As per a general rule freedom of speech is important for democracy, we cannot expect to have a good government unless we do not have right of political discussions and public debates.
The prevailing restrictions
Lord Denning wrote in detail about it in his book ‘Road to Justice’ – People act wrongly reaching to wrong conclusions while using their right of freedom to speech or expression. Therefore a restriction in form of clause-2 of article 19 is implicated that forbids discussion about state security, discussions about making disturbance in friendly relations between two countries, decency and morality, contempt of court, defamation, public order, encouragement to crime, integrity of nation and honesty in public life have been included.
If a person found guilty of spreading hatred, dissatisfaction, violence, goes against set norms of decency etc can be prosecuted as criminal against national security act. Words used in writing, symbolic or presented in any form come in the same class of offence that can prosecute a person under national security act. The case is simple act of rebellion against the nation where he can be jailed starting from 3 years to life imprisonment.
My personal views about freedom of expression
I feel that we should not encourage wrong views and support such things in any form which are not fair for your country or organizations. If you do not want to oppose them openly for any reason you should not look like supporting them openly as if you support such views. I am afraid but I shall have to mention a point here that I went through on this recently where a member was using his right of speech too loudly, in a bad way, using fowl language and some reputed members supporting him openly. According to my viewpoint that was a rebellion act and needed strong action so to curve such activities in future.
We as a democracy are matured enough to know our rights but the natural question that can be asked here is that do we know our duties as well? The simple answer is we follow two different set of rules in this matter- one that make us free from all rules and the other one that binds the government from all rules. We shall have to come out of this mantle condition and that too very fast if we want to develop as a nation with self pride intact and where no political group able to take any disadvantage of law abiding public.
We know our right but…
We certainly know our right of expressions and speech which we have proved in recent years through different public protests and processions we took out against government and we did all of these peacefully. I agree we did every thing just the right way but why do we look as if we are trying to get away while it comes to discharge our duties honestly. For instance- we find it the easiest way out by blaming our governments or politicians for not coming to expectations of different public facilities but when it comes to breaking public transport vehicles or burning them down, do we think for a moment? How do we expect that our governments can run smoothly while having so much of law breaking people around at the slightest of provocation? If we know our rights and shout about them just why can’t we look at the other side of the coin and do some thing required of us. It’s a two-way traffic and if we run on a single track the collision is inevitable.
I agree common man knows his right better than ever before and if the government acts like Brits did in their period to suppress fundamental rights of public it is government’s failure to understand reality. The public can no more be handled with stick but with proper use of common sense. They also will have to come out of mental stage where they think they are the ruling classes. They certainly are not ruler but lawmakers and public servants.
Speech of freedom is foundation of any democracy as speech is related to thoughts that means if we cannot speak freely we cannot think freely because both are interlinked. I agree that some people are misusing this fundamental right despite all the laws and rules please look at the other side of the coin. Do you think that only sweet talk, just talk or talk to the point would serve the purpose? I think we find some bitter but right points from inaccurate talks as well. I will end my views at this point with a self-quote that “although a murder is committed through a dagger but no one bans the dagger but murderer” therefore the need to ban the one who is misusing his right of speech and his supporters but not every one in general.