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Report No. 101

3.4. Decision of 1973.-

In 1973, the majority of the Supreme Court1 held that although a company is not a citizen, the citizen-share-holders can enforce their right of free speech, as the company is only a medium for expressing their views. The material dicta are as under:-

"The rights of share-holders with regard to Article 19(1)(a) are protected and manifested by the newspapers owned and controlled by the shareholders through the medium of the corporation. In the present case, the individual rights of freedom of speech and expression of editors, directors and share-holders are all exercised through the newspapers through which they speak. The press reaches the public through the newspapers. The shareholders speak through their editors. The fact that the companies are the petitioners does not prevent this court, from giving relief to the shareholders, editors, printers who have asked for protection of their fundamental rights by reason of the effect of the law and of the action upon their rights. The locus standi of the shareholder petitioners is beyond challenge after ruling of this Court in the Bank Nationalisation case."

1. Bennet Coleman v. Union of India, (1973) 2 SCR 757: AIR 1973 SC 106.

Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 of the Constitution - Recommendation to Extend it to Indian Corporations Back

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