Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
Indian Legislation: Primary and Secondary

The Constitution of India, 1950, Article 19(2)

This provision of the Indian Constitution describes the grounds under which restrictions may be imposed on the freedom of speech and expression. The Article as it originally stood at the commencement of the Constitution did not contain “public order” as a ground; this was added by the First Amendment in 1951.

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The Indian Penal Code, 1860

Various provisions of the IPC are routinely invoked against speech that has the tendency to incite lawless action. A few of these may be illustratively mentioned here. Section 124A proscribes seditious statements which have a tendency to incite disaffection towards the state. Section 153A penalizes speech promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. Section 295A proscribes deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise. Section 505 prohibits, inter alia, the circulation of any statement, rumour or report with the intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community. 

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The Customs Act, 1962, Section 11

This section authorises the Central Government to prohibit or restrict the import or export of goods of any specified description on the grounds, inter alia, of the maintenance of public order.

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The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 95 authorizes the State Government to seize copies of books and newspapers containing matter the publication of which is punishable inter alia under sections 153A and 295A of the IPC. Section 107 provides the Magistrate the power to demand bond or security from any person as a condition for maintaining peace. Section 144 authorizes the Executive Magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in an area.

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Parliamentary Debates On The Constitution (1st Amendment) Act, May 1951

The Parliamentary Debates are useful to gain an insight into Constitutional provisions and amendments.

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Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII (02.12.1948)

These are the debates in the Indian Constituent Assembly where “public order” was discussed as a ground for restriction of the right to freedom of speech and expression.

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