- contempt of Court;
- decency or morality;
- public order;
- incitement to an offense;
- security of the state;
- friendly relation with foreign state;
- maintenance of sovereignty and integrity of India.
But recently when Nabam Tuki, Minister PWD and UD and APCC President threatened to lodge an FIR against one Tana Takang for expressing his views in a popular local press media, it made me wonder if the 'Freedom of Speech and Expression' conferred to its' citizen by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution has been challenged.
A brief history of the issue
In it's April, 08 edition, The Arunachal Times published a letter of one Tana Takang in its' 'Readers' Forum' column, wherein the author, apparently fed up with the political rhetoric dished out by the political parties and their candidates; allegations and counter-allegations during their campaign for LS polls appearing in the local dailies, had asked both the parties-ruling and opposition (read INC and BJP) to debate it out in a common platform in line of Presidential elections of US of A, so that the common masses could decide better and select the right candidate to represent them in the parliament. Well, this seem the core of the letter to me.
The letter, however, did not go down well with the ruling Congress Party and a press statement appeared the next day where APCC President Nabam Tuki threatened to lodge an FIR against the said person terming the letter was written with the intend to malign the area.
"Tuki further referring to a Readers' Forum published in this daily by one Tana Takang said that as per their observation, there is no such person residing in the said locality. He said that whoever is behind the letter was doing it with intend to malign the area and it needed to be punished as per law. The party will lodge an FIR against the said person to trace out the reality, he added."-The Arunachal Times, 09-04-09 issue
under heading 'Sonia to address Itanagar rally'
After going through the statement of the Minister in the paper, my first reaction was how could anyone try to curb one's 'Freedom of Speech and Expression' by threatening. However, instead of reacting to the statement instantly, I decided to put aside my emotional outburst and try to see if the author had put reasonable restrictions as laid down in Article 19, Clause 2 while expressing his views or not. So I went through the said letter again, and I could not come up with anything objectionable that could have suggested that the author have not put 'reasonable restrictions' while expressing his views. Or have I missed something that others may find objectionable in the letter that might suggest that the author had not put reasonable restrictions? Go through the letter (reproduced below) for yourself and put in your comments if the letter was objectionable to attract the ire of APCC President and an FIR threat.
Was the letter intended to malign the area as put by the Minister?
Now coming to the Ministers' allegation that said person does not reside in the locality and that the letter was written with the intend to malign the area, in which case I guess the area under question is Chimpu, Itanagar, I could not quite comprehend how the letter was intended to malign Chimpu. Apart from mentioning Chimpu, Itanagar in the address, there is no mention of Chimpu, not even once in the body of the letter itself, whether with good intend or bad intend. :) And on their observation that letter was written by a person not 'physically' residing in the locality; does it really matter? In fact, I found the allegation quite flimsy and childish. The charge seem more of to bully the person who quite openly appreciated the opposition candidate through his letter.
So, is it the case of curbing one's freedom of speech and expression by bullying tactic or indeed the author of the letter has not put restraint while expressing his views?