AIB – All India Bhagodas? Why avoiding legal battles makes it worse for Free Speech

India is not a country known for its laws on Free Speech. It began in 1950 when the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, brought in the First Amendment to the Indian Constitution against “abuse of freedom of speech and expression”. This was in response to an article which was critical on Nehruvian policies.

The Indian Penal Code makes matters worse. Section 294 of the IPC mandates that any kind of public obscenity can be punished with upto 3 months in jail.

The only to change a law in our country is to wait for our MPs to sit up and take notice. Unfortunately that is not quite in our hands. Free Speech is hardly a priority for our lawmakers. In fact, they would want more curbs on speech!

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

The next best thing is to make the courts hear your plea and force them into getting a favourable opinion on a draconian law through logical debates. This can spur the Parliament into changing the law itself.

A classic example of this was Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalised sexual activities “against the order of nature”, arguably including homosexual acts. The section was declared unconstitutional by the Delhi High Court in 2009. This judgement was later overturned by the Supreme Court, but it was a moment which made everyone sit up and question a colonial law. The battle continues there.

But in the case of Freedom of Speech, many of “activists” often take the easy route and don’t prefer to fight for their case. Even stalwarts like MF Hussain did not stand up to the ones who he “offended” but chose to run away to another country instead of fighting his court battles.

AIB had a golden chance to set it right. They had the financial might, backing from the big guns of Bollywood, and support of the people. AIB are arguably the most successful stand-up comedians in India. Even though some people found their jokes offensive, unfunny or repetitive, most people defended their right to say those jokes. If not them, who else will stand up for their fraternity? and for Freedom of Speech as a whole?

As we have said earlier, laws in the case of Freedom of Expression can never be precise and objective. This is where precedents help. A court ruling in the AIB issue could have served as a source of support to numerous artistes who are bullied by people who take “offense”.

But running away doesn’t help. It only worsens the case and makes interpretations of the law even more unfriendly to Freedom of Speech. AIB still have time to buck up and make a difference and go into the History books. Lets see if they bite the bullet!

Editorial team of OpIndia.com

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Congress friendly journalist wishes death upon BJP Delhi spokesperson Tajinder Bagga

During the run-up to Gujarat assembly elections last year, Trivedi was caught spreading morphed images with Amit Shah's fake quotes on Patidars

BJP has lost the digital and social media edge, but it is not too late to recover

Talented supporters are BJP's key asset. If things start moving now BJP will be able to recover the edge lost by 'IT cell'. The time to act is now.
Modi government vindicated, SC says Rafale Deal clean

SC verdict on Rafale deal: Read scathing comments made by Court while dismissing petitions for inquiry

Supreme Court dismissed petitions for an enquiry into Rafale deal pricing, offset partner selection and procurement procedure. Read scathing observations

For all his angst against Adani, Rahul Gandhi chose Kamal Nath who rallied behind Adani for power plant in Chhindwara

Kamal Nath is believed to be close to Gautam Adani, whom Rahul Gandhi has frequently accused of being a 'crony capitalist'

‘Will not develop areas which did not vote for me’: Rajasthan Congress MLA shortly after winning

Rajender Singh Bidhuri fought and won a close battle against BJP MLA Suresh Dhakad with a margin of 1661 votes.

Pro-Congress troll resumes fake news website, makes outlandish claims on Rafale targeting Modi

Abhishek Mishra has been associated with the website which spreads fake news and Islamist propaganda

Arun Jaitley rejects JPC demand on Rafale, says “deaf will never receive an answer, they can’t hear it”

Arun Jaitley called for an apology from Rahul Gandhi for his lies on Rafale deal

Double whammy for Congress in court: After Rafale verdict, Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as CBI special director upheld by SC

The Supreme Court's verdict is being seen as the second major embarrassment for both the Congress party and Prashant Bhushan, as the Supreme Court had earlier rejected a plea on the issue of a probe concerning the Rafale deal.

Concerns for Congress to conspiracy theories: The liberal meltdown after Rafale verdict

The SC today dismissed all the petitions over the Rafale deal.

Priyanka Gandhi part of selection process of Congress CM in the state where her husband faces probe

Priyanka Gandhi's husband, Robert Vadra, was recently summoned for the third time by the Enforcement Directorate in the Bikaner land deal money laundering case after he missed the first two.

Latest articles

Connect with us

125,655FansLike
97,923FollowersFollow
6,106SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these