Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur speaking about free speech and role of judiciary in the backdrop of Prashant Bhushan contempt case.
Lokur says many citizens expressing their views think they are within the limits of free speech while state thinks the citizens are transgressing the limits.

So what can citizens do? They cannot take to streets or resort to violence. They can only continue to speak.
The state then resort to measures like charging such citizens with the offence of sedition.

Sedition is being used as an iron hand to curb free speech which is an over reaction to people expressing views.
Sedition is a serious offence. It was used against great persons like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, says justice Lokur.
Justice Lokur refers to sedition cases in Punjab etc.

Lokur J says many people are put in jail on the ground that what citizens say is fake news.
Another way in which free speech is curbed is by misreading the statements of citizens, says Lokur J.
Lokur J refers to a case from UP where a speech calling for unity and integrity of country was used to keep the person who gave the speech in preventive detention on the ground that speech was against integrity. He was released by Allahabad HC.

(The case is of Dr. Kafeel Khan).
"On the other hand, those who call for violence and breaking up things, nothing happens to them", says justice Lokur.
Lokur J. highlights Pendency and non- transparency as two issues which are plaguing judiciary.

Judiciary has to be transparent.
There are 3 crore cases pending in Indian courts. Judiciary has to prioritise its concerns. It has to tell is what it is doing, says Lokur J.

As regards Prashant Bhushan's case, Lokur J. says it was an expression of his opinion.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan will deposit Rs. 1 fine with the Supreme Court registry today.

He is addressing the media outside SC. He maintains that the fact that he is depositing fine does not mean he agrees with SC judgment and will contest the judgment in review petition.

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5 Sep
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