It is well known that India has a free press. The question that which immediately comes to our mind while looking at censorship and regulation of film and cinema is whether the same degree of freedom should be applied to such enterprises as well. Under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India, every person in India is granted the right to freedom of speech and expression.


‘Freedom of expression’ means the right to express one`s opinion by word of mouth, writing, printing, picture or any other manner, including movies. This freedom is an institutional right. However, neither freedom of press, nor freedom of cinema or cinema exhibition is listed under the Constitution of India.

However, it is important to note here that freedom of speech and expression is subjected to ‘reasonable restriction’ on the basis of the grounds set out under Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India. Among the reasonable restrictions listed under Article 19(2), the most important are restrictions in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of the State, in order to maintain friendly relations with foreign States, to uphold public order, decency or morality or in cases of contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence. Thus it is the duty of the State to guarantee freedom of speech and expression. However, in order to maintain control and preserve order, along with a regard for public morality, the State has to impose certain reasonable restrictions.

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Post Contributed By:

Ashish Ransom

Indian Institute of legal Studies



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