Thursday, 2 April 2015

Politically (in)correct:FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN INDIA

By: Dibyasha Mohanty
The unabridged scrapping of Section 66A of the IT Act,2000  by the Supreme Court comes as an assurance against perversion of such laws by  vice-ridden politicians who never fail to steer the law of the land to their parochial advantage.The termination of  an unconstitutional law that is hostile to the very spirit of freedom of speech,comes as a much awaited cause for celebration against the backdrop of growing dissent against the arrest of a class 11 student for posting 'objectionable content'.

  Going by the history of Indian democracy,there have been several instances of twisting of the constitution through amendments to suit the self-motivated requirements of the so-called 'guardians' of our legislature.Section 66A was in itself,a facilitator of considerable scope for anomalous and ambiguous interpretation.As it is,any comment or innocuous statement that puts a politician's teeth on edge could invite serious trouble or even arrest ,as it the minister's  way of 'unliking' a post.
  However,it is equally important that the law-makers of the country come of age as well.Freedom of speech cannot be a licence for incitement or mockery of the religions and cultures that are an integral part of our ethnic diversity.Hate speeches by Praveen Togadia, Sadhvi Prachi, Akbaruddin Owaisi and racist comments by Sharad Yadav on South Indian women are impeccable examples of exploitation of freedom of speech,which justify the need for censorship and opprobrium of the same.
It is quite ironical that our representatives can audaciously disseminate their blasphemous statements which pounce upon the ethos of secularism and peace of the nation,while any slight expression of disappointment at their high-handedness could be a criminal offence punishable by law.
  Moreover,the indiscriminate suppression of writers like Perumul Murugan, FIRs against AIB Roast and growing violence against whistleblowers' expose a deep-rooted reluctance among certain sections of the populace towards anything that is contrary to conventional social set-up.This reluctance is global in its presence ,as confirmed by the Charlie Hebdo massacre.Such an intolerant standpoint is bound to attract criticism in a twitter culture which spares none-from the Prime Minister to common man himself. Moreover,a growing economy which makes passive,the dichotomy between left liberalism and the right,has its role to play as well.

  To speak or not to speak-and having decided to speak at last,the prudence of maintaining the line between debate and controversy is a tricky affair.There's no one-size-fits-all methodology in India.
Nevertheless,we sit vis-a-vis a set of positive socio-economic changes which nurtures the voice of an aware,ignited youth.That voice is relentless and bold,too distinct to be suppressed by barricades of red-tapism,nepotism or political arrogance.

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