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18 May, 2016

A blow against free speech – The Hindu

In the 400 years after the origin of criminal defamation in England, and in the 150 years after the drafting of the IPC, the world has moved on. There are no more duels. In 2009, the United Kingdom abolished criminal defamation altogether. More recently, the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe struck it down as an unconstitutional restriction upon the freedom of speech. The apex courts of the United States, Canada and South Africa have transformed criminal defamation out of all recognition, adding defences that make it far more protective of the freedom of speech and expression. There has been a growing recognition all over the world that criminal defamation is a powerful tool in the hands of politicians and corporations to stifle and suffocate inconvenient speech. On Friday, however, none of this seemed to matter to the Indian Supreme Court.

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