The Madras High Court cautioned Magistrates against mechanically ordering registration of FIRs in cases having "direct and clear implications on free speech. While quashing criminal proceedings instituted against ninety-year-old Tamil writer, K. Rajanarayanan, for allegedly insulting the Scheduled Castes community. Remarking that taking offense had become a fashion, the court said that the magistrate, at the complaint stage, will have to see if the allegations made in the complaint are so absurd on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion. With reliance on Perumal Murugan's case decided by HC, the court said.
Violence is the most extreme threat to freedom of expression. Many have paid with their lives for exercising this basic human right. Timothy Garton Ash in his seminal work “Free Speech” would call it “the assassin's veto”. When Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie, V.S.Naipaul remarked that an assassination is an extreme form of literary criticism. Long back, an American free speech scholar Harry Kalven Jr. coined the term “heckler's veto” to describe the way a speaker can be silenced in a public meeting. To these can be added “the prosecutor's veto”. It is setting the criminal law in motion to target those legitimately exercising their right to speech and expression. For more leading legal judgments in India.
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