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Judiciary

Orissa HC Upholds Freedom of Speech in Pushpendra Kulshrestha Case While Cautioning Against Communal Disharmony [Read Order]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      06 November, 2023 10:42 AM      0 Comments
Orissa HC Upholds Freedom of Speech in Pushpendra Kulshrestha Case While Cautioning Against Communal Disharmony

The Orissa High Court has permitted a public speaker and activist, Puspendra Kulshrestha  to participate and deliver his speech in a seminar in Sambalpur, by holding that the right to freedom of speech and expression cannot be curtailed merely on apprehension.

However, the court ordered that he would not speak anything against any other religion and that his speech should not be aired by any media house in the country.

A single judge bench of Justice S K Panigrahi on Thursday said that "his speech should not create any kind of communal disharmony or threaten the national integration or security of the country".

The court disposed of a plea challenging the Sambalpur district administration's order not to allow a public meeting in Sambalpur town on Sunday on national integration and security.

The petition was filed by Radha Sriniwas Sewa Trust. Advocate Anirudha Sangnaria, arguing for it, questioned the illegal action of the District Administration, Sambalpur in not granting permission for conducting a public meeting despite several petitions for permission for conducting the programme on November 5.

Responding to the petition, state counsel G R submitted that since Sambalpur has witnessed communal disharmony in the past, any kind of seminar or meeting which is likely to disturb the peace of the area cannot be allowed.

"On verification of the YouTube channel of the eminent guest (Puspendra Kulshrestha) who is being invited to the seminar, it is found that his speeches are mostly aggressive in nature and always creates hatred against a particular religion. The said speech might trigger, create and revive tension in Sambalpur town," the state counsel submitted.

The court, while allowing the seminar to go ahead, said, "Be that as it may, this court is of the view that the right to freedom of speech and ex- pression cannot be curtailed merely on apprehension, unless such specific instances are cited before the court to ban a person's speech."

The Sunday event on 'National Integration and Security' was however subsequently cancelled.

 

[Read Order]



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