The first amendment of India’s Constitution allowed the right to freedom of speech and expression to be “reasonably restricted”. This amendment created a distinct space for the judiciary and the legislature to produce an ambiguous stream of interpretations to address the vagueness associated with terminologies such as ‘reasonable’, ‘in the interest of’, ‘public order’, ‘decency’, ‘morality’, ‘incitement’ etc.
Ratika Gaur and Apurva Kumar explore the possible reasons for this ambiguity. They also examine the immediate effects of this ambiguity on the reach and scope of Article 19(1)(a), which lays out the right to free speech. Finally, they consider possible solutions that can be achieved through creative policy interventions.
Ratika is a political scientist who has been researching freedom of speech and expression. She is an Assistant Professor at Miranda House and is also pursuing PGP at Takshashila.