“No one bothers about fundamental duties”

The Madras High Court Bench here has rued that many of those who champion the cause of freedom of speech and expression more often than not fail to notice the fundamental duties cast upon citizens to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan made the observation while disposing of a writ petition filed by a lawyer last month seeking a direction to the Home Secretary and Director-General of police to consider a representation made him on January 23 for providing police protection to all cinema theatres that screen Kamal Haasan-starrer Vishwaroopam , a film that got mired in controversy due to opposition from some Muslim organisations.

“The right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution is not absolute. Article 19 (2) preserves the right of State to impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by various clauses of Article 19(1)… While analysing an issue like this… necessarily the fundamental duties imposed under Part-IV of the Constitution should also be considered,” he said.

However, since the controversy surrounding the movie had subsided early this month, as Mr. Haasan, also the co-producer of the movie, agreed to delete certain scenes, the judge said there was no necessity to direct government officials to consider the representation made by the petitioner, C. Ezhilarasu, who had filed the case through his counsel W. Peter Ramesh Kumar.



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