Freedom of Speech and Expression: Scope of Article 19(1) (a) in the Constitutional Framework and Reasonable Restrictions

  • Soumya Srivastava
  • Show Author Details
  • Soumya Srivastava

    Assistant Professor at Babu Banarasi Das University, India

  • img Download Full Paper


Freedom of Speech and Expression always had a great instrumental value in promoting truth and social values, it is not only quintessential for maintaining democracy as it helps in facilitating the exchange of diverse opinions, but it is also associated with the liberty of an individual and very closely to ‘appeal to reason’, thus making it the most basic human birth right. Framers of our constitution treasured this ideology and thus incorporated it in our constitution and preamble as well. Not only India but all the other nations have admitted the significance of free speech and have adopted it by incorporating it their legal justice system. History has taught us that absolute power corrupts, that’s why this fundamental right is also not left absolute, but is subjected to certain ‘reasonable restrictions’ like: sovereignty and integrity of nation, security of state and friendly relation with foreign state, public order, decency, morality and other restrictions mentioned in Art.19(2) of the Constitution. Indian Courts have also been from time to time engaged in justifying the restrictions which this right is subjected to. This Article opens with the analysis of freedom of speech & expression in a democratic society and the ‘reasonableness of the restrictions’ imposed on it under the Indian Constitution & other nation’s legal system, further various case laws are also enumerated which explained the judicial interpretation of Article 19(1) (a) & 19(2) along with a dialogue on free speech in international legal regime. Finally, the Article is concluded with my understanding on how the scope of freedom of speech and expression has significantly increased over the years by adding ‘right to information’ and ‘freedom of press’ in it and how the ‘pitfalls’ like lack of provisions related to individual privacy, no specific definition for morality/decency, abuse of free speech on internet and unethical media hindrance are serious concern for our current legal framework.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 6, Page 1071 - 1082


Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


Copyright © IJLMH 2021