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Free speech not an excuse for abusing nationally revered figures, says SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that one cannot resort to abusive language against historical figures in the guise of artistic expression and free speech to accentuate sensationalism.

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant said though a person might have the liberty of thoughts, it could not be an excuse for abusing nationally revered figures. Dealing with a plea of a Marathi writer, who faced a criminal case over writing an “obscene” poem on Mahatma Gandhi, the Bench said while projecting a view, one could not put “abusive” words in someone else’s mouth to “accentuate the sensationalism.”

Poem ‘satirical’

Referring to the poem, ‘Gandhi Mala Bhetala Hota’, written by Vasant Dattatraya Gujar in 1984, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the accused Devidas Ramchandra Tuljapurkar, said, people who know Marathi found the poem “satirical”.

The poem was published in the in-house magazine of the Bank of Maharashtra Employees Union in 1994. Mr. Tuljapurkar, General Secretary of the Bank Union, was the magazine editor.

He faced charges of publishing the ‘vulgar and obscene’ poem.Hindu

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