Soli Sorabjee, writes a hard hitting Op-Ed in his regular Sunday column SOLI LoQUIES.….remarks are said to have hurt a section of the people. So what? Freedom of expression cannot be held hostage to irrational subjective feelings of some over-sensitive intolerant persons
Fanaticism has escalated alarmingly. Freedom of expression is under siege. One cannot express heterodox opinions except on pain of legal penalties, persecution and social ostracism. Movie star Khushboo opined that men should no more expect their brides to be virgins and added that when youngsters indulge in pre-marital sex they should use protection. Her views are prima facie sensible and are also held by several persons. One may disagree but resort to her criminal prosecution manifests frightening fanaticism.
Khushboo’s remarks are said to have hurt a section of the people. So what? Freedom of expression cannot be held hostage to irrational subjective feelings of some over-sensitive intolerant persons. We are living in a pluralist democracy. Our Constitution guarantees freedom of expression. In the celebrated case of S Rangarajan, Justice Jagannatha Shetty, speaking for the Supreme ,Court categorically ruled that freedom of expression protects not only ideas that are favourably received but also ”those that offend shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no democratic society.”
Continue reading at Indian Express
Cross-posted on Parsi Khabar
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