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Mamta Banerjee, Politics and Free Speech.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

/ by Satyagrahi

The Constitution of India prescribes for freedom of speech & expression coupled therewith ‘Eight Restrictions’ under the heading of Article 19(1)(a) and 19(2) respectively. The aforesaid Right of Freedom pertaining to speech & expression perceive its slot under the heading of Fundamental Right and henceforth render to be absolute in nature. The government are bound to enforce the freedom of speech in its true spirit and any hindrance hitherto results in the legal sanction to be faced by the government.

In the recent past, specially during the flock of General Lok Sabha Election, a 25 years old lady BJP Yuva Morcha leader Ms. Priyanka Sharma, in West Bengal was arrested for sharing a meme on social media platform ‘Facebook’ in which she transposed the face of the Chief Minister of West Bengal Ms. Mamta Banerjee onto the body of Ms. Priyanka Chopra at the Met Gala in New York, USA. 

Following this saga, she was arrested on May 10 by the West Bengal Police under Section 500 of the IPC (Defamation) and under other provisions of the Information Technology Act on the complaint of a local Trinamool Congress leader Vibhas Hazra. In response to aforesaid, she was reportedly forced to move the Supreme Court as there was a strike in local courts till May 14 in Howrah and because Priyanka had been remanded to 14 days judicial custody by a Howrah local court on May 11.

The Apex Court in response to the aforesaid petition through its vacation bench comprising therein of Justice Indira Banerjee & Sanjeev Khanna granted bail to Ms. Priyanaka Sharma coupled with a condition of tendering apology in writing after once she left unprisoned. During the hearing, the bench observed that though freedom of speech is non-negotiable but “your freedom of speech ends when it infringes upon others rights. The Court quoted that “Someone’s feelings have been hurt. there has to be an apology.”

The bench also added in its observation that since Ms. Sharma is a member of a Political Party, the insinuation of posting such a picture will be different from those shared by common people.

After perusing the aforesaid incident at hand, the foremost consideration which shadows the mind of a layman is all about the vires of the power which can be exercised by the respective government. The posting of a morphed picture, ipso facto do not hold any legal stand or sanctity whatsoever enumerated neither under the Indian Penal Code nor under the Information Technology Act.

The above contention of TMC nor hold any bias and footing under the Constitution of India. Yet certain exceptions are enumerated under the Constitution for exercising the vires of Freedom of Speech. Nevertheless the instant situation miserably lack behind in attracting any of those exceptions.

Things might would had been different if the instant occurrence had occured before the landmark judgment of Shreya Singhal v. Union of India in 2015 pened by Hon’ble Justice Jasti Chalameshwar. 

Section 66A of IT Act had been wrapped up in order to bestow the exercise of freedom of speech & expression(s) in its true sense and spirit. The arrest enforced in the case at hand also counter on the footing of legality of the arrest of Ms. Priyanka Sharma as it was executed notwithstanding of the guidelines rendered in D.K.Basu v State of West Bengal. 

Indeed there exist certain restriction(s) whensoever the freedom of speech and expression are exercised by any individual of this nation. Nevertheless the idea and propaganda of free speech will not suffice its cause if the principle of ‘de minimis non curat lex’ are not ignored. In the phase of industrialization and developing feature of thus nation, and specially during the era of Twenty First century, their remains several aspects coupled with concerns which need to be addressed and resolved by the respecive State or let say the Central Goverment.

The Government at hand need to shift its view from the prespective of these trifling socio concerned issues and rather work for the overall growth and development of its citizens residing therein India, so that the agenda of Preamble attached to the Constitution of India stand fulfilled and be cherished by the individual at large. 

The atrocities rendered by the Mamta Banerjee laid TMC Congress nevertheless stands on a avant-guard footing. The horrifying approach enhanced by Mamta Banerjee long back in 2012 do not stand diluted when a proficient Professor of West Bengal was acutely harassed. 

he abridgment of the aforesaid behaviour of West Bengal government headed by Mamta Banerjee signifies that she never remains in the mood of enchanting the task of criticism especially when it pertains to her personal being. Howsoever for the nourishment of a healthy democracy, the politicians are supposed to take all the curdle and exertion with open hands.


Disclaimer: The contention herein referred are of my personal bias and any political resemblance or leaning hitherto need to be strictly condemned.

The author is a BBA.LLB (Constitutional Law Hons.) graduate from New Law College, BVDU, Pune. The article was first posted on the author's personal blog "LawFreaker".

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