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Day 24 – Q 1.Censorship stifles creativity and creates an ecosystem of doubts and ambiguity in which art can hardly flourish. Do you agree? Examine in the wake of recent incidents of censorship in India both institutional and social.

1. Censorship stifles creativity and creates an ecosystem of doubts and ambiguity in which art can hardly flourish. Do you agree? Examine in the wake of recent incidents of censorship in India both institutional and social.  

सेंसरशिप रचनात्मकता को बाधित करता है और संदेह तथा अस्पष्टता का एक पारिस्थितिकी तंत्र बनाता है जिसमें कला शायद ही कभी विकसित हो सकती है। क्या आप सहमत हैं? भारत में संस्थागत और सामाजिक सेंसरशिप की हाल की घटनाओं के प्रकाश में जांच करें।


According to Benjamin Franklin ” Those who sacrifice liberty for the sake of security, have nothing in the end”. Freedom of Speech and Expression, is one of the most fundamental of all fundamental rights and embodied in Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution. It is said that in spite of being heterogeneous – India is been kept one piece due to noise and caous of democracy. A mature democracy will always Give assent and tolerate free speech , freedom of expression and dissent. However , time and again there have been incidences of censorship with social and political overtones hiding behind the curtains of reasonable restrictions trying to stifle the freedom of democracy – 


In recent times, various examples of Censorships have been in India at both Institutional and Social level as follows – 

Institutional Censorship

  • Section 295 A of IPC –  action to be taken against aggravated form of insult to religion that is meant to disrupt public order.
  • Section 499 and 500 of IPC – criminalizing Criminal Defamation.
  • Alcohol Ban in States like Gujarat, Bihar etc.
  • Restrictions of Trade in Cattle – recently passed – Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rules,2017
  • Various restrictions on the Internet from time to time
  • “India’s daughter” produced by BBC and banned by Indian Government.

Social Censorship

  • Incidences of Mob lynching accusing people of eating Beef.
  • Incidences of Murder of Rationalists like – Kalburgi, Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh.
  • Incidences of attacks on media houses.
  • Issue of protest over the movie “Padmavat”.

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right. Art 19(1)(a) of the constitution provides for the same. Preamble of India also mentions liberty of thought and expression. But freedom of speech is not absolute and art19(2) provides for the reasonable restrictions state can be imposed. These reasons are sometimes justified for imposition of Censorship.

  1. Security of state,
  2. sovereignty and integrity of India
  3. Relations with a foreign country
  4. Public order
  5. Morality And Decency
  6. Contempt of court
  7. Defamation

Beyond this, there are many extra constitutional restrictions are imposed by the state in the name of culture, religious sentiments etc. these are not within the scope of reasonable restrictions. They Can adversely affect Rule of law and democracy and create an ecosystem of doubts and ambiguities as follows

  1. It remits the state to control free flow of information, thoughts and creativity.
  2. State becomes a benevolent patriarch or as a big brother.
  3. State will decide what is right and wrong for the citizens rather than they deciding for themselves.
  4. It demeans the intellect and the maturity of the citizens.
  5. Unreasonable restrictions at the behest of fringe groups deprive the majority the people of their right to see and enjoy a good movie or art.
  6. It can be described as a tyranny of minority over the rights of the majority.
  7. In the age of Information technology, such bans are farcical.
  8. Implementation of the bans is almost impossible.
  9. Such bans will motivate the people to break the law and it dilutes rule of law in the country.
  10. It creates a state of cultural emergency — if we continued appease the fundamentalist elements & destroy tolerant & pluralist tradition.

Censorship with respect to Movies

Indian cinematograph act 1952 allows for pre censorship of Movies. These restrictions on films are created under article 19(2) of the constitution that provides for reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech. In this, terms such as morality and decency, defamation are too vague and are leading to arbitrariness. It makes the CBFC a moral police for Indian cinema.

Pre censorship exists only for Movies and not to the other medium of expression – print media.

It also questions the very foundation of our constitution – citizens are autonomous individuals, who can make their own choices and take responsibility for them. Pre censorship deprives them of very choice in deciding the films they wish to watch.


According to Noam Chomsky  We should “Respect the views with which we  completely disagree” – It is a precondition of tolerant and enlightened society. This can be achieved by the follows measures – 

Press , Media and Advertisements

  • Government should work with all stakeholders and create detailed guidelines.
  • Increase the sensitivity of the media on sensitive matters.
  • Appoint a Independent TV watchdog on the lines of PCI.
  • Revamp PCI.
  • Advertisements – need categorization according to Age groups, setting up time slots.


       Shyam Benegal Committee Recommendations- 

  • Reducing CBFC as a certifying body than censor authority.
  • Categorize films according to age and maturity of the people.
  • Recertification of TV independent of Theatre screening.

         Mudgal committee

  • Artistic expression and creative freedom should not be curbed.
  • Audience should be empowered.


According to the opinion of the judge in Shreya Singhal Case, “ Bharat Varsha  after 70 years of Independence is disunity of strongly held opinions”, it is important to understand that India is built on dissent in Different times of history. Therefore, it is important to abstain from taking steps which can haveChilling effect on Speech and Expression”. Hence, a perfect balance between the Freedom of Speech and  Expression and its reasonable restriction is the way forward, but the most important thing to be ensure that any kind of restriction is REASONABLE in true sense.


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