Description:                                                                                        Resources:

Curriculum: BCI (law courses in India);                                            Worksheet: 1  (PDF)

                     VTU (engineering courses in Karnataka)                       Worksheet: 2 (PDF) (Updated on 14th January 2019)

Grade(s): Undergraduate classes                                                         Worksheet: 3(PDF) (English-Hindi)Worksheet (PDF Format) (English-Hindi)                  

Subject(s): Constitutional Law (BCI); Constitution of India,                   CADIndia (website link)   

                   Professional Ethics and Human Rights (VTU)

Level of difficulty: Moderate


The Constitution guarantees all Indian citizens the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. The Constitution of India, 1950, as it was initially passed, allowed the State to restrict this right on very limited grounds; through the 1st Amendment to the Constitution in 1951, the scope of permissible restrictions was expanded to allow the State to impose 'reasonable restrictions' on a number of grounds.

In this worksheet we will revisit the constitutional history behind Articles 19 (1) (a) and 19 (2) of the Indian Constitution, which provide for the right to freedom of speech and expression, subject to 'reasonable restrictions':

19 (1) All citizens shall have the right—

      (a) to freedom of speech and expression; 

(2) Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

What were the debates among the framers of the Indian Constitution on the right to freedom of speech and expression?