Contempt of Court and Free Expression - Need for a Delicate Balance
G. V. Mahesh Nath
Andhra Pradesh Judicial Services
Audhi Narayana Vavili
Amicus Books, ICFAI
December 5, 2008
Free expression is the fundamental fountain-head of democracy. The right of free expression does not however confer right to denigrate others right of person and reputation as such the right of free expression is subject to reasonable restrictions. Bonafide criticism of any system or institution including the judiciary cannot be objected on any pretext, be it under the conferred constitutional power or the statutory contempt law. The freedom of speech bestowed under the constitution and the independence of the judiciary are the two essential and most important constitutes of democracy in a country. Reconciling these two competing public interest issues and maintaining a balance, presents a challenge to any given democratic set-up. Healthy and constructive criticisms are the necessary feature for the development of the democracy. The Apex court as the guardian of the Constitution must vigilantly protect free speech even against judicial resentment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8
Keywords: Contempt of Court, Free Expression, Court, Democracyworking papers series
Date posted: December 8, 2008 ; Last revised: January 5, 2009
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