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The Supreme Court determines that MPs and MLAs are not subject to any extra limits on free expression.

According to Bar and Bench, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that ministers, MPs, and MLAs enjoy the same degree of freedom of speech as other people under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The court ruled out any additional restrictions on the freedom of speech of public employees.

A Constitution Bench consisting of Justices S Abdul Nazeer, AS Bopanna, BR Gavai, V Ramasubramanian, and BV Nagarathna ruled that public representatives have the same right to freedom of speech and expression as any other citizen, with no restrictions beyond those prescribed by Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

“No additional limits not contained in Article 19(2) may be imposed on the exercise of Article 19(1)(a)…”

Article 19(2) has a thorough list of grounds for curtailing free expression. The Court ruled that Article 19(1)(a) cannot be subject to additional constraints not included in Article 19(2).

The court rendered its decision after hearing a number of arguments concerning the scope of public officials’ freedom of speech and whether more constraints can be imposed on that freedom in the interest of citizens’ right to life and personal freedom.

In addition, the supreme court declared that ministerial statements pertaining to the government or its business could not be imputed to the government vicariously.

“A minister’s simple inconsistency with citizen rights does not constitute a constitutional tort, but if it leads to the omission or commission of an offence by a public official, then it is a constitutional tort,” the Constitution bench ruled.

Justice BV Nagarathna said in a separate verdict, according to Bar and Bench, that while freedom of speech and expression is a necessary right to ensure that individuals are well-informed and educated about governance, it cannot be used to promote hatred.

“Hate speech, in the sense that it makes society unequal and insults persons from varied origins, particularly in a country such as ours, Bharat, undermines the fundamental ideals of society. It is the obligation of every Indian to preserve the dignity of every person, regardless of religion, caste, etc., as well as the dignity of women, she argued.

Following Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s comments regarding the gang-rape of a minor and her mother in Uttar Pradesh in 2016, the reference to a five-judge bench arose.



Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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