DR. SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY Vs UNION OF INDIA |

DR. SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY Vs UNION OF INDIA

DR.SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY Vs. UNION OF INDIA 2016 (8) SCC 31

Brief facts- The petitioner has challenged the constitutionality of various provisions of the Indian Penal Code like section 153 ,153 A , 153 B ,295 A ,298 and 505 on the ground of violation of the Constitution , particularly Article 19 (1) (a ).

Relevant Provisions- Article 19 of the Indian Constitution , Section 153, 153 A , 153 B ,295 A ,298,499 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code.

Judgement -The challenge to the constitutionality of Section 153A on the ground that it violates the guarantee of free speech and expression must be rejected because the Section seeks to punish only (a) such acts which have the tendency to promote enmity or hatred between different classes or (b) such acts which are prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different classes and which have the tendency to disturb public tranquillity. These acts are clearly calculated to disturb public order and so the limitations imposed by Section 153A are in the interests of public order. Therefore, the provisions of Section 153A would be saved under Article 19(2) of the Constitution as being within the scope of permissible legislative restrictions on the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a).

That there has not been any good reason for holding the provisions of Section 153-A, I.P.C. to be ultra vires.. This section only makes an act punishable if it promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India. The language of the section is exact. There is neither any ambiguity nor vagueness about it and what has been made punishable has been stated in unambiguous, precise and clear words.

Note- That a careful reading of the aforesaid sections shows that a reasonable restriction has already been imposed in this section for whosoever promotes or attempts to promote the feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of citizens of India to the extent of endangering public order cannot be protected by Clause (2) of Article 19 and therefore this section cannot be deemed to be ultra vires in view of the amended Clause (2) of Article 19 of the Constitution.
That for reasons similar to those for which Sections 295A and 505 were held constitutional in Ramji Lal Modi v. State of U.P., , the validity of Section 153A can be uphold .That ,while considering the constitutionality of section Section 153A, the following points should be kept on mind –

1. it is not necessary to prove that as a result of the objectionable matter, enmity or hatred was in fact caused between the different classes.
2. Intention to promote enmity or hatred, apart from what appears from the writing itself, is not a necessary ingredient of the offence. It is enough to show that the language of the writing is of a nature calculated to promote feelings of enmity or hatred for, a person must be presumed to intend the natural consequences of his act.
3. The matter charged as being within the mischief of Section 153A must be read as a whole. One cannot rely on stray, isolated passages for proving the charge nor indeed can one take a sentence here and a sentence there and connect them by a meticulous process of inferential reasoning.
4. For judging what are the natural or probable consequences of the writing, it is permissible to take into consideration the class of readers for whom the book is primarily meant as also the state of feelings between the different classes or communities at the relevant tune.
5. If the writing is calculated to promote feelings of enmity or hatred, it is no defence to a charge under Section 153A that the writing contains a truthful account of past events or is otherwise supported by good authority. If a writer is disloyal to history, it might be easier to prove that history was distorted in order to achieve a particular end as e.g. to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes or communities.

March 9, 2017

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