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Article 19(2) of the Constitution places restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression: Uttarakhand High Court

Article 19(2) of the Constitution places restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression is upheld by the Uttarakhand High Court in the case of Jitendra Narayan Tyagi v State of Uttarakhand through Hon’ble Justice Ravindra Maithani.

FACTS OF THE CASE

In the instant case, an FIR was filed according to which, a Dharm Sansad was established in Haridwar with the intention of waging war against a specific faith. The petitioner had made statements to start a religious war against a specific religion in a video message that was released.

Senior Counsel presenting on behalf of the applicant claimed that these offences were triable by the Magistrate and carried a maximum sentence of three years in jail. According to the State’s legal representative, the applicant encouraged hostility between religious groups and incited the general populace to take up arms against a particular religion Further, the applicant had a 34-case criminal history.

JUDGEMENT

The court ruled that a person’s right to bail strikes a balance between their personal freedom and the needs of society. The court also declared that our constitution clearly protects both the right to life and the right to liberty, but it was of the opinion that a person’s application for bail is evaluated based on a number of different factors.

The transcripts produced by the State were not made public by the court because they contained several disparaging remarks towards a certain faith and a Prophet. The Court believed that the Prophet had been mistreated and it sought to offend those who practise a certain religion which intended to start a conflict. The Court observed that a hate speech was made.

The court denied the bail request on the grounds that the right to freedom guaranteed by the Constitution is not an absolute right. It is constrained. Article 19(2) of the Constitution places restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union of India, 2014,which emphasised the far-reaching effects of hate speech, was also cited by the court. The court ultimately decided that this case was unsuitable for bail.

Accordingly, the Court rejected the bail request made by the applicant who was being held under Sections 153A and 298 of the Penal Code of 1860.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL

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