Freedom of speech!

In a remarkable order, the Supreme Court of India has annulled Article 66A of the Information Technology Act. The article had placed a padlock on the freedom of speech and expression on the Internet for nearly 7 years. It had benefited the ruling parties and politicians in several states as people were put behind the bars for an honest opinion about the prevailing political system in the country. I sincerely congratulate and thank the people who worked tirelessly for this order.

Soon after the annulment, most political parties welcomed the court’s decision. I think our politicians are affected by retrograde amnesia. The Congress party proposed the controversial article in 2008. The BJP did not ask for a discussion and both houses of the Parliament passed it. Now both parties brazenly welcome the annulment of this article by the Supreme Court as if it existed from the colonial times!

I urge everybody to express their honest assessments about anything and everything related to our society, culture, and system. Only honest thinking and discussions will help in forming clear ideas and opinions. At the same time, care should be taken not to misuse the power given to the people by the court. Freedom of speech should not be construed as a license to abuse others or deliver hate speeches. As the court rightly observed, advocacy and incitement are different things.

Photo: crisismagazine.com

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