11. In a Grammar of Politics, Harold J. Laski has stated:
“… My freedoms are avenues of choice through which I may, as I deem fit, construct for myself my own course of conduct. And the freedoms I must possess to enjoy a general liberty are those which, in their sum, will constitute the path through which my best self is capable of attainment. That is not to say it will be attained. It is to say only that I alone can make that best self, and that without those freedoms I have not the means of manufacture at my disposal.”
12. In Sudhir Kumar Saha v. Commissioner of Police and another, (1970) 1 SCC 149 the Court has observed:-
“The freedom of the individual is of utmost importance in any civilized society. It is a human right. Under our Constitution it is a guaranteed right. It can be deprived of only by due process of law. The power to detain is an exceptional power to be used under exceptional circumstances.”
13. In State of U.P. v. Lalai Singh Yadav, (1976) 4 SCC 213 Krishna Iyer. J opined:-
“Rights and responsibilities are a complex system and the framers of our Constitution, aware of the grammar of anarchy, wrote down reasonable restrictions on libertarian exercise of freedoms.”
14. Recently, in Nachiketa Walhekar v. Central Board of Film Certification & Anr, W.P. (C) No. 1119 of 2017 the Court has held:-
“The thrust of the matter is whether this Court should entertain the writ petition and pass an order of injunction directing the CBFC to delete the clip and further not to get the movie released in theaters on 17th November, 2017. It is worthy to mention that freedom of speech and expression is sacrosanct and the said right should not be ordinarily interfered with. That apart, when the respondent No.1, CBFC, has granted the certificate and only something with regard to the petitioner, which was shown in the media, is being reflected in the film, this Court should restrain itself in not entertaining the writ petition or granting injunction.”
“Be it noted, a film or a drama or a novel or a book is a creation of art. An artist has his own freedom to express himself in a manner which is not prohibited in law and such prohibitions are not read by implication to crucify the rights of expressive mind. The human history records that there are many authors who express their thoughts according to the choice of their words, phrases, expressions and also create characters who may look absolutely different than an ordinary man would conceive of. A thought provoking film should never mean that it has to be didactic or in any way puritanical. It can be expressive and provoking the conscious or the sub-conscious thoughts of the viewer. If there has to be any limitation, that has to be as per the prescription in law.”
15. When we say so, we are also reminded of the line spoken by Benjamin Cardozo, CARDOZO, Benjamin N., The Growth of the Law (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924), p.61 which is to the following effect:-
“Complete freedom – unfettered and undirected – there never is.”
16. It is settled in law that no right is absolute but the fetters for enjoying the rights should be absolutely reasonable more so when it relates to the right to freedom of speech and expression and right to liberty. The Court has to see what kinds of fetters are being imposed and the impact of the same.
17. Ordinarily, we would have imposed costs. As the petitioner-in-person is a practising counsel in this Court, we refrain from doing so. However, we caution him to be careful in future.
18. In view of the aforesaid analysis, the writ petition is dismissed with no order as to costs.
Get free Case Laws via Email Subscription