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Critical views on government policies not anti-establishment: SC

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    7th Apr, 2023

Context

The Supreme Court of India has observed that the Central government’s frequent reliance on sealed covers to validate its actions in courts has reduced constitutional rights and procedural guarantees of a fair hearing.

About the case:

  • The Apex Court was deciding on Malayalam news channel MediaOne's plea against the telecast ban imposed on it by the Central government.
  • The Supreme Court showed anger to the government for silencing voices in the media who “speak truth to power” by branding them as “anti-establishment”.

Anti-establishment:

It means used for individual or Organisation who Opposed or hostile to the social, economic, and political principles of a ruling class (as of a nation).

  • Government targets media which are against their ideologies.
  • Supreme Court has also said on state’s “unguided and ad hoc” use of sealed covers in courts to outsmart citizens’ rights to personal liberty, life and profession.

Supreme courts’ stand:

  • The press has a duty to speak truth and present citizens with hard facts, enabling them to make choices that prepare democracy in the right direction.
  • The restriction on the freedom of the press compels citizens to think along the same tangent.
  • A homogenized view on issues that range from socioeconomic polity to political ideologies would pose danger to democracy.

Press Freedom in India:

Grounds of restriction against press:

A law could impose only those restrictions on the exercise of this right; it faces certain restrictions under article 19(2), which is as follows:

  • Sovereignty and integrity of India,
  • Security of the State,
  • Friendly relations with foreign States,
  • Public order, decency or morality or in
  • Contempt of court,
  • Defamation
  • Incitement to an offence.
  • Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras, 1950: The Supreme Court in Romesh Thappar v. the State of Madras observed that freedom of the press lay at the foundation of all democratic organisations.
  • Fundamental Right under Article 19: The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression under Article 19, which deals with ‘Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.
  • Implicit Right: Freedom of the press is not expressly protected by the Indian legal system but it is impliedly protected under Article 19(1) (a) of the constitution.
  • However, Freedom of the press is also not absolute.

Verifying, please be patient.

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