Vol. III, No. 41. 25 Jayastha 2007, June 5, 1950, Annas Four – Air Mail-/4/6
JUDICIAL HISTORY was made by the Supreme Court on May 26 When it GRANTED THE PETITION filed by the Editor, Printer and Publisher of the ‘ORGANISER’ against pre-censorship order imposed on it, declaring Section 7 (1) (c) ultra vires the Constitution and quashing the impugned pre-censorship order of the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, dated March 2.
The Washington Post has described this ruling of the Supreme Court of Bharat guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression as “an event of great significance in Asia.”
In the course of the judgment read by Patanjali Shastri J. on behalf of Kania C.J., and Mahajan Das Mukerji JJ, he remarked: “There can be little doubt that the imposition of precensorship on a journal is a restriction on liberty of the press which is an essential part of the right to freedom of speech and expression declared by Art. 19(1)(a). As pointed out by Blackstone in his Commentaries the liberty of the press consists in laying no previous restraint upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press. (Blackstone’s Commentaries Vol. IV. P. 151, 152.)
The only question therefore is whether s. 7 (1) (c) which authorizes the imposition of such a restriction falls within the reservation of cl. (2) of Art. 19.
As this question turns on considerations which are essentially the same as those on which our decision in Petition No. XVI of 1950 was based, our judgment in that case concludes the present case also. Accordingly, for the reasons indicated in that judgment, we allow this petition and hereby quash the impugned order of the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, dated the 2nd March 1950.”
(Sd.) H.J. Kania C.J., ” M.C. Mahajan, J., ” Mukerjee J., ” S.R. Das J., New Delhi, The 26th May 1950.
To our countless readers, sympathizers and other citizens who have literally deluged us with hundreds of congratulatory letters, telegrams and messages we tender our hearty thanks. Their sympathy over-whelms us.
And we thank our readers who bore with us the censor’s scissors for three long weary months.
And we thank above all Shri N.C. Chatterji, Shri B. Bannerji and Shri Ganpatrai for their free legal services. Btu for their great labour of love this happy consummation may have failed to come off.
We thank them all, and with all our heart.