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Report No. 200

Art 21 is the crucial article which guarantees the right to life and liberty. It reads:

"Art. 21: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law'.

Article 22(2) requires that a person who is arrested has to be produced before a Magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest.

The Supreme Court in Maneka Gandhi's case (AIR 1978 SC 597) has interpreted the words 'according to procedure established by law' in Art as requiring a procedure which is fair, just and equitable and not arbitrary.

The Supreme Court of India, in Life Insurance Corporation of India v. Manubhai D. Shah, (1992 (3) SCC 637) has stated that the "freedom of speech and expression" in Article 19(1)(a) means the right to express one's convictions and opinions freely, by word of mouth, writing, printing, pictures or electronic media or in any other manner.

In Romesh Thapar v. State of Madras, 1950 SCR 594, it was held that the freedom includes the freedom of ideas, their publication and circulation. It was stated in Hamdard Dawakhana v. Union of India: 1960 (2) SCR 671, that the right includes the right to acquire and impart ideas and information about matters of common interest.

The right to telecast includes the right to educate, to inform and to entertain and also the right to be educated, be informed and be entertained. The former is the right of the telecaster, while the latter is the right of the viewers (Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting v. Cricket Association of West Bengal: 1995(2) SCC 161. The right under Art 19(1) 38(a) includes the right to information and the right to disseminate through all types of media, whether print, electronic or audio-visual: (ibid).

The Supreme Court has held that a trial by press, electronic media or by way of a public agitation is the very anti-thesis of rule of law and can lead to miscarriage of justice. A Judge is to guard himself against such pressure (State of Maharashtra v. Rajendra Jawanmal Gandhi: 1997 (8) SCC 386.

In Anukul Chandra Pradhan v. Union of India, 1996(6) SCC 354, the Supreme Court observed that "No occasion should arise for an impression that the publicity attached to these matters (the hawala transactions) has tended to dilute the emphasis on the essentials of a fair trial and the basic principles of jurisprudence including the presumption of innocence of the accused unless found guilty at the end of the trial"

Trial by Media free speech and fair trial under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Back

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