Extremism plan pushes the UK down a dangerously illiberal road

David Cameron has attacked British universities for failing to tackle extremism on their campuses. In a speech setting out a five-year plan to counter extreme views, the UK prime minister accused university leaders of “looking the other way” when Islamist extremists speak on campus. This, he said was “through a mixture of misguided liberalism and cultural sensitivity”.…

Defamation is not a crime

It is bad policy to use taxpayers’ money to settle private disputes. Propagating the fear of answering summons in distant locations to defend against alleged defamation has a chilling effect on free speech Self-litigating-non-lawyer-now-with-BJP politician Subramanian Swamy is on course to creating legal history again (after his litigation relating to 2G spectrum). The Supreme Court…

Truth need not be defamation shield

The Supreme Court today said certain comments have to be necessarily construed as “defamatory” and those making such statements, even if they happen to be true, could not claim immunity from prosecution. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant said there must be reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech, as it cited two…

A pernicious law

The Union government’s contention in the Supreme Court that the provisions in the Indian Penal Code on criminal defamation do not have a chilling effect on free speech will disappoint proponents of fundamental freedoms. The zeal to retain a law that the state can use to stifle criticism is at the heart of the government’s…

Free speech muzzled, apex court told

Pushing strongly for de-criminalisation of defamation, political leaders across the spectrum argued in the Supreme Court on Wednesday that continuing with defamation as a penal offence under a colonial law muzzles free speech in a modern welfare state where truth and public debate are considered the greatest ways to good governance. A Bench headed by…