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No additional restrictions against free speech for lawmakers: Supreme Court

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No additional restrictions against free speech for lawmakers: Supreme Court
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said no additional restrictions, other than those prescribed under Article 19(2) of the Constitution, can be imposed on public representatives.

The judgment came after the court heard pleas, based on the scope of freedom of speech of public functionaries, seeking whether greater restrictions can be imposed on their right.

Ruling out any additional restrictions, the court said that ministers, lawmakers including MPs, MLAs enjoy freedom of speech in equal measure as other citizens under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, according to The Indian Express.

A Constitution Bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer, AS Bopanna, BR Gavai, V Ramasubramanian and BV Nagarathna refused to allow any additional restrictions on lawmakers under right to freedom of speech and expression.

“Additional restrictions not found under Article 19(2) cannot be imposed on the exercise of article 19(1)(a)…Grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) for restricting free speech are exhaustive. Additional restrictions not found in Article 19(2) cannot be imposed on the exercise of right under 19(1)(a),” the Court reportedly held.

The issued related to plea followed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s remarks on a 2016 gang-rape of a minor and her mother in Uttar Pradesh.

The apex court in its ruling said that the statement by minister cannot be “vicariously attributed to the government”.

“A mere statement by a minister inconsistent with the rights of citizen does not form to be a constitutional tort but if it leads to omission or commission of offence by a public official then it is a constitutional tort,” the Constitution bench reportedly said.

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TAGS:additional restrictions free speech Supreme Court 
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