26 May 1950
Supreme Court


Case number: Original Suit 29 of 1950






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 26/05/1950


CITATION:  1950 AIR  129            1950 SCR  605  CITATOR INFO :  R          1951 SC 270  (4)  RF         1952 SC 329  (3,4)  RF         1957 SC 620  (3,5,7)  RF         1958 SC 578  (129,151)  F          1959 SC 395  (13,40)  R          1960 SC 633  (9)  RF         1962 SC 305  (25)  R          1962 SC 955  (21)  MV         1966 SC 740  (48)  RF         1967 SC1643  (227)  RF         1971 SC2486  (8,13,14)  E          1973 SC 106  (16)  RF         1986 SC 515  (22,24,33,97)  RF         1989 SC 190  (11)

ACT:    Constitution  of  India,  Art.  19,  cls.  (1)  (a)  and (2)--Fundamental   right   of   freedom   of   speech    and expression--Law  imposing pre-censorship on  newspapers  for securing    public    safety    and    preventing     public disorder--Validity--Matter   disturbing  public  safety   or causing  public disorder, whether "undermines  the  security of,  or tends to over* throw, the State"--Scope of Art.  19, cl.  (2)--East  Punjab Public Safety Act, 1949, sec.  7  (1) (c)--Validity.

HEADNOTE: Section  7  (1) (c) of the East Punjab  Public  Safety  Act, 1949,  as  extended to the Province of Delhi  provided  that "the Provincial Government or any authority authorised by it in  this behalf, if satisfied that such action is  necessary for preventing or combating any activity prejudicial to  the public  safety  or the maintenance of public order  may,  by order  in  writing addressed to a a  printer,  publisher  or editor require that any matter relating to a 606 particular subject or class of subjects shall before  publi- cation be submitted for scrutiny."



   Held  per  KANIA C. J.,  PATANJALI  SASTRI,  MEHR  CHAND MAHAJAN,  MUKHERJEA  and DAS JJ.--(FAZL ALI  J.  dissenting) that  inasmuch as s. 7 (1) (c) authorised the imposition  of restrictions  on the fundamental right of freedom of  speech and expression guaranteed by art. 19 (1.) (a) of the Consti- tution for the purpose of preventing activities  prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order, it was not a law relating to "a matter which undermines the security of or tends to overthrow, the State" within the meaning of  the saving  provisions contained in cl. (9.) of art. 19 and  was therefore unconstitutional and void. Romesh Thappar v. The State ([1950] S.C.R. 594) followed.     Per FAZL ALI J.-- The expression "public safety" has, as a result of a long course of legislative practice acquired a well-recognised meaning and may be taken to denote safety or security  of the State; and, though the  expression  "public order"  is  wide enough to cover small disturbances  of  the peace which do not jeopardise the security of the State yet, prominence given in the Act to public safety, the fact  that the  Act  is a piece of special  legislation  providing  for special measures and the aim and scope of the Act in  gener- al, show that preservation of public safety is the  dominant purpose  of  the Act, and "public order" may well  be  para- phrased  in  the context as "public  tranquillity".   Public disorders which disturb the public tranquillity do undermine the  security  of the State and as s. 7 (1) (c) of  the  im- pugned  Act  is  aimed at preventing such  disorders  it  is difficult to hold that it falls outside the ambit of art. 19 (2) of the Constitution.     Held  by the Full Court.--The imposition of  pre-censor- ship  on  a journal is a restriction on the liberty  of  the press which is an essential part of the right to freedom  of speech  and expression declared by art. 19  (1)(a).   Black- stone’s Commentaries referred to.

JUDGMENT: ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Petition No. XXIX of 1950.     Application  under  article 32 of  the  Constitution  of India  for a writ of certiorari and prohibition.  The  facts are stated in the judgment.     N.C. Chatterjee (B. Banerji, with him) for the petition- er.     M.C. Setalvad, Attorney-General for India, (S. M. Sikri, with him) for the respondent.     1950.  May  26. The judgment of  Kania  C.J.,  Patanjali Sastri, Mehr Chand Mahajan, Mukherjea and Das JJ. was deliv- ered by Patanjali Sastri J. Fazl Ali J. delivered a separate dissenting judgment, 607     PATANJALI SASTRI J.--This is an application under  arti- cle 32 of the Constitution praying for the issue of writs of certiorari  and  prohibition to the  respondent,  the  Chief Commissioner  of Delhi, with a view to examine the  legality of  and quash the order made by him in regard to an  English weekly  of  Delhi called the Organizer of  which  the  first applicant  is the printer and publisher, and the  second  is the editor.  On 2nd March, 1950, the respondent, in exercise of powers conferred on him by section 7 (1) (c) of the  East Punjab  Public Safety Act, 1949, which has been extended  to the  Delhi  Province and is hereinafter referred to  as  the impugned Act, issued the following order:     "Whereas  the  Chief Commissioner, Delhi,  is  satisfied that  Organizer, an English weekly of Delhi, has  been  pub-



lishing highly objectionable matter constituting a threat to public  law  and  order and that action  as  is  hereinafter mentioned  is  necessary for the purpose  of  preventing  or combating activities prejudicial to the public safety or the maintenance of public order.     Now  there more in exercise of the powers  conferred  by section 7 (1)(c) of the East Punjab Public Safety Act, 1949, as extended to the Delhi Province, I, Shankar Prasad,  Chief Commissioner, Delhi, do by this order require you Shri  Brij Bhushan, Printer and Publisher and Shri K.R. Halkani, Editor of the aforesaid paper to submit for scrutiny, in duplicate, before publication, till further orders, all communal matter and news and views about Pakistan including photographs  and cartoons  other than those derived from official sources  or supplied  by the news agencies, viz., Press Trust of  India, United  Press  of India and United Press of America  to  the Provincial Press Officer, or in his absence, to Superintend- ent  of Press Branch at his office at 5, Alipur Road,  Civil Lines, Delhi, between the hours 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on  work- ing days."      The only point argued before us relates to the  consti- tutional  validity of section 7 (1) (c) of the impugned  Act which, as appears from its preamble, was passed "to  provide special measures to ensure public safety 608 and  maintenance of public order."  Section 7 (1) (c)  under which  the aforesaid order purports to have been made  reads (so far as material here) as follows :--     "The Provincial  Government or any authority  authorised by it in this behalf if satisfied that such action is neces- sary for the purpose of preventing or combating any activity prejudicial  to  the  public safety or  the  maintenance  of public order may, by order in writing addressed to a  print- er, publisher or editor require that any matter relating  to a  particular  subject  or class of  subjects  shall  before publication be submitted for scrutiny."     The petitioners claim that this provision infringes  the fundamental  right to the freedom of speech  and  expression conferred  upon them by article 19 (1) (a) of the  Constitu- tion inasmuch as it authorises the imposition of a  restric- tion  on the publication of the journal which is not  justi- fied under clause (2) of that article.     There can be little doubt that the imposition of precen- sorship on a journal is a restriction on the liberty of  the press which is an essential part of the right to freedom  of speech  and  expression declared by article 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(1).  The only  question therefore is whether section 7  (1)(c)  which authorises the imposition-of such a restriction falls within the reservation of clause (2) of article 19.     As  this  question  turns on  considerations  which  are essentially  the  same  as those on which  our  decision  in Petition No. XVI of 1950(2) 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 Commission- er, Delhi, dated the 2nd March, 1950. (1) Blackstone’s Commentaries, Vol. IV, pp. 151, 152. (2) Romesh Thappar v. The State of Madras, supra p. 594. 609



  FAZL ALI J.--The question raised in this case relates  to the validity of ’section 7 (1) (c) of the East Punjab Public Safety  Act,  1949 (as extended to the Province  of  Delhi), which runs as follows :-   "The  Provincial Government or  any  authority  authorised by it in this behalf if satisfied that such action is neces- sary for the purpose of preventing or combating any activity prejudicial  to  the  public safety or  the  maintenance  of public order, may, by order in writing addressed to a print- er, publisher or editor--        *      *      *            *     (c)  require  that any matter relating to  a  particular subject  or  class of subjects shall before  publication  be submitted for scrutiny;"     It should be noted that the provisions of sub-clause (c) arc  not in general terms but are confined to a  "particular subject or class of subjects," and that having regard to the context in which these words are used, they must be connect- ed with "public safety or the maintenance of public order."      The  petitioners,  on whose behalf  this  provision  is assailed,  are respectively the printer (and publisher)  and editor of an English  weekly of Delhi  called Organizer, and they pray for the issue of writs of certiorari and  prohibi- tion  to  the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, with  a  view’  ’to examine  and review the legality"      of and "restrain  the operation"  of and "quash" the order made by him on the  2nd March,  1950, under the impugned section,   directing   them "to  submit for scrutiny, in duplicate, before  publication, till further orders, all communal matter and news and  views about Pakistan including photographs and cartoons other than those derived from official sources or supplied by the  news agencies..."  The  order  in question  recites  among  other things  that the Chief Commissioner is  satisfied  that  the Organizer  has  been publishing highly objectionable  matter constituting  a  threat  to public law and  order  and  that action to which reference has been made is necessary for the purpose  of preventing  or  combating  activities 610     prejudicial  to the public safety or the maintenance  of public order.  It is contended on behalf of the  petitioners that  notwithstanding  these recitals the  order  complained against  is liable to be quashed, because it amounts  to  an infringement  of the right of freedom of speech and  expres- sion  guaranteed by article 19 (1) (a) of the  Constitution. Articles 19 (1) (a) and (2), which are to be read  together, run as follows :-       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 in so far as  it  relates to,  or prevent the State from making any law  relating  to, libel, slander, defamation, contempt of Court or any  matter which  offends against decency or morality or  which  under- mines the security of, or tends to overthrow, the State."     It is contended that section 7 (1)(c) of the Act,  under which  the impugned order has been made, cannot be saved  by clause  (2)  of article 19 of the Constitution,  because  it does not relate to any matter which undermines the  security of, or tends to overthrow, the State.  Thus the main  ground of  attack is that the impugned law is an infringement of  a fundamental  right and is not saved by the so-called  saving clause to which reference has been made.     There can be no doubt that to impose pre-censorship on a journal, such as has been ordered by the Chief  Commissioner



in  this case, is a restriction on the liberty of the  press which  is  included in the right to freedom  of  speech  and expression guaranteed by article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitu- tion,  and  the  only question which we  have  therefore  to decide  is whether clause (2) of article 19 stands  in   the way of the petitioners.     The  East Punjab Public Safety Act, 1949, of which  sec- tion  7 is a part, was passed by the Provincial  Legislature in exercise of the power conferred upon it by section 100 of the Government of India Act, 1935, is 611 read with Entry 1 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to that Act,  which  includes among other  matters  "public  order." This  expression in the general sense may be   construed  to have reference to the maintenance of what is generally known as  law and order in the Province, and this is confirmed  by the  words which follow it in Entry 1 of List II  and  which have been put within brackets, viz., "but not including  the use  of  naval, military or air forces or  any  other  armed forces of the Union in aid of the civil power."  It is clear that  anything which affects public tranquillity within  the State or the Province will also affect public order and  the State  Legislature is therefore competent to frame  laws  on matters  relating to public tranquillity and  public  order. It was not disputed that under the Government of India  Act, 1935  (under, which the impugned Act was passed) it was  the responsibility  of each Province to deal with all   internal disorders  whatever their magnitude may be and  to  preserve public tranquillity and order within the Province.     At  this  stage, it will be convenient to  consider  the meaning of another expression "public safety" which is  used throughout the impugned Act and which is also chosen by  its framers for its title.  This expression, though it has  been variously used in different contexts (see the Indian   Penal Code,  Ch. XIV), has now acquired a well-recognized  meaning in relation to an Act like the impugned Act, as a result  of a  long course of legislative practice, and may be taken  to denote  safety or security of the State.  In this sense,  it was  used in the Defence of the Realm  (Consolidation)  Act, 1914,  as well as the Defence of India Act. and this is  how it was judicially interpreted in Rex v. Governor of Wormwood Scrubbs Prison(1). The headnote of this case runs as follows    "By section 1 of the Defence of the Realm (Consolidation) Act, 1914, power was given to His Majesty in Council ’during the  continuance  of  the  present  war  to  issue   regula- tions   ......  for securing the public safety and  the  de- fence of the realm’ :-- (1) [1920] 2 K.B. 305. 612     Held,  that the regulations thereby authorized were  not limited  to  regulations for the protection of  the  country against  foreign enemies, but included regulations  designed for the prevention of internal disorder and rebellion "     Thus  ’public  order’  and ’public  safety’  are  allied matters,  but,  in  order to appreciate how  they  stand  in relation  to each other, it seems best to direct our  atten- tion to the opposite concepts which we may, for  convenience of  reference, respectively label as ’public  disorder’  and ’public unsafety’.  If ’public safety’ is, as we have  seen, equivalent to ’security of the State’, what I have designat- ed  as  public  unsafety may be regarded  as  equivalent  to ’insecurity  of the State’. When we approach the  matter  in this  way,  we  find that while ’public  disorder’  iS  wide enough  to cover a small riot or an affray and  other  cases where  peace is disturbed by, or affects, a small  group  of



persons,  ’public  unsafety’ (or insecurity of  the  State), will  usually be connected with serious  internal  disorders and  such disturbances of public tranquillity as  jeopardize the security of the State.     In order to understand the scope of the Act, it will  be necessary  to  note that in the Act "maintenance  of  public order" always occurs in juxtaposition with "public  safety", and the Act itself is called "The East Punjab Public  Safety Act."  The prominence thus given to ’public safety’ strongly suggests  that  the Act was intended to  deal  with  serious cases  of public disorder which affect public safety or  the security of the State, or cases in which, owing to some kind of emergency or a grave situation having arisen, even public disorders  of comparatively small dimensions may  have  far- reaching effects on the security of the State.  It is to  be noted that the Act purports to provide "special measures  to ensure public safety and maintenance of public order."   The words "special measures" are rather important, because  they show  that  the Act was not intended for ordinary  cases  or ordinary situations.  The ordinary cases are provided for by the Penal Code and other existing laws, and 613 with  these the Act which purports to be of a temporary  Act is  not apparently concerned.  It is concerned with  special measures  which  would presumably be  required  for  special cases or  special  situations.  Once this important fact  is grasped  and  the Act is viewed in the  proper  perspective, much  of the confusion which has been created in the  course of  the  arguments  will disappear.  The  line  of  argument advanced on behalf of the petitioners is that since the  Act has  been  passed in exercise of the power  granted  by  the expression  "public order," used in the Government of  India Act,  which is a general term of wide import, and  since  it purports  to provide for the maintenance of   public  order, its provisions are intended or are liable to be used for all cases  of breaches of public order, be they small or  insig- nificant  breaches  or those of a grave or  serious  nature. This  is, in my opinion, approaching the case from  a  wrong angle.  The Act is a piece of special legislation  providing for  special measures and the central idea dominating it  is public safety and maintenance of public order in a situation requiring special measures.     It  was argued that "public safety" and "maintenance  of public order" are used in the Act disjunctively and they are separated  by the word "or" and not "and," and therefore  we cannot  rule  out the possibility of the Act  providing  for ordinary  as well as serious cases of disturbance of  public order and tranquillity.  This, as I have already  indicated, is a somewhat narrow and technical approach to the question. In  construing  the Act, we must try to get at its  aim  and purpose,  and before the Act is declared to be  invalid,  we must  see whether it is capable of being so construed as  to bear  a reasonable meaning consistent with its validity.  We therefore cannot ignore the fact that preservation of public safety  is the dominant purpose of the Act and that it is  a special Act providing for special measures and therefore  it should  not be confused with an Act which is  applicable  to ordinary  situations  and to any and every trivial  case  of breach of public order, 614 In  my  opinion, the word "or" is used here not so  much  to separate two wholly different concepts as to show that  they are  closely allied concepts and can be used  almost  inter- changeably in the context.  I think that "public order"  may well  be paraphrased in the context as  public  tranquillity



and the words "public safety" and "public order" may be read as  equivalent to "security of the State" and "public  tran- quillity."     I will now advert once more to clause (2) of article  19 and state what I consider to be the reason for inserting  in it  the words "matter which undermines the security  of,  or tends  to overthrow, the State."  It is well  recognized  in all  systems of law that the right to freedom of speech  and expression or freedom of the press means that any person may write or say what he pleases so long as he does not infringe the  law  relating to libel or slander  or  to  blasphemous, obscene or seditious words or writings: (see Halsbury’s Laws of England, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, page 391).  This is  prac- tically what has been said in clause (2) of article 19, with this  difference only that instead of using the  words  "law relating to sedition," the framers of the Constitution  have used  the words mentioned above. It is interesting  to  note that  sedition  was mentioned in the original draft  of  the Constitution, but subsequently that word was dropped and the words which I have quoted were inserted.  I think it is  not difficult to discover the reason for this change and I shall briefly state in my own words what I consider it to be.      The latest pronouncement by the highest Indian tribunal as to the law of sedition is to be found in  Niharendu  Dutt Majumdar   v.  The King(1) which has been quoted  again  and again  and in which Gwyer C.J. laid down that public  disor- der, or the reasonable anticipation or likelihood of  public disorder,  is the gist of the offence of sedition  and  "the acts  or words complained of must either incite to  disorder or (1) [1942] F.C.R. 38. 615 must  be  such as to satisfy reasonable men  that  is  their intention or tendency."  For this  view,  the learned  Chief Justice  relied on certain observations of Fitzgerald J.  in R.v. Sullivan (1), and he also added that he was content  to adopt   "the words of that  learned Judge which  are  to  be found in every book dealing with this branch of the criminal law."  There is no doubt that what Gwyer C.J. has stated  in that  case  represents the view of a number  of  Judges  and authors and was also the view of Sir James Stephen in regard to whom Cave J. in his charge to the jury in a case relating to the law of sedition JR. v. Burns(2) said :--     "The law upon the question of what is seditious and what is  not  is  to be found stated very clearly in  a  book  by Stephen J. who has undoubtedly a greater knowledge of crimi- nal  law than any other Judge who sits upon the  Bench,  and what he has said upon the subject of sedition was  submitted to the other Judges, who sometime back were engaged with him in  drafting  a  criminal code, and upon  their  report  the Commissioners say that his statement of law appears to  them to be stated accurately as it exists at present."     The decision of  Gwyer C.J. held  the field  for several years until the Privy Council, dealing with a case under the Defence of India Rules, expressed the view  in  King  Emper- or   v.  Sadhashiv  Narayan Bhalerao(3) that the  test  laid down  by  the learned Chief Justice was  not  applicable  in India  where  the offence under section 124A of  the  Indian Penal  Code should be construed with reference to the  words used in that section.  They also added :--     "The  word ’sedition’ does not occur either  in  section 124A or in the Rule; it is only found as a marginal note  to section  124A, and is not an operative part of the  section, but  merely provides the name by which the crime defined  in the section will be known.



(1) [1868] 11 Cox c.c. 44.   (2) [1886] 16 cox 855.  (8)  74 I.A. 616 There  can be no justification for restricting the  contents of the section by the marginal note.  In England there is no statutory  definition of sedition; its meaning  and  content have  been  laid down in many decisions, some of  which  are referred  to by the Chief Justice, but these  decisions  are not  relevant when you have  a statutory definition of  that which is termed sedition as we have in the present case.     Their  Lordships  are  unable to find  anything  in  the language  of  either section 124A or the  Rule  which  could suggest  that ’the acts or words complained of  must  either incite  to disorder or must be such as to satisfy reasonable men that this is their intention or tendency."     The  framers  of the Constitution  must  have  therefore found themselves face to face with the dilemma as to whether the word "sedition" should be used in article 19 (2) and  if it  was to be used in what sense it was to be used.  On  the one  hand,  they must have had before their  mind  the  very widely accepted view supported by numerous authorities  that sedition was essentially an offence against public tranquil- lity  and  was connected in some way or  other  with  public disorder;  and, on the other hand, there was the  pronounce- ment  of the Judicial Committee that sedition as defined  in the  Indian Penal Code did not necessarily imply any  inten- tion or tendency to incite disorder. In these circumstances, it  is not surprising that they decided not to use the  word "sedition"  in  clause (2) but used the more  general  words which  cover sedition and everything else which makes  sedi- tion such a serious offence.  That sedition  does  undermine the security of the State is a matter which cannot admit  of much  doubt.  That it undermines the security of  the  State usually  through  the medium of public disorder  is  also  a matter  on  which  eminent Judges and  jurists  are  agreed. Therefore  it is difficult to hold that public  disorder  or disturbance  of  public tranquillity are not  matters  which undermine the security of the State. 617     It will not be out of place to quote here the  following passage from Stephen’s Criminal Law of England (Vol. II, pp. 242 and 243) :--     "It  often  happens, however, that the public  peace  is disturbed  by offences which without tending to the  subver- sion  of  the existing  political  constitution  practically subvert  the authority of  the Government over a greater  or less  local area for a longer or shorter time.  The  Bristol riots  in  1832 and the Gordon riots in  1780 are  instances of this kind. No definite line  can be drawn between  insur- rections of this sort, ordinary  riots, and unlawful  assem- blies.  The  difference between a meeting stormy  enough  to cause  well-founded  fear of a breach of the  peace,  and  a civil war the result of which may determine the course of  a nation’s  history for centuries, is a difference of  degree. Unlawful   assemblies,  riots,  insurrections,   rebellions, levying of war, are offences which run into each other,  and are  not capable of being marked off by  perfectly  definite boundaries, All of them have in common one feature,  namely, that  the normal tranquillity of a civilised society  is  in each of the cases mentioned disturbed either by actual force or at least by the show and threat of it.     Another  class of offences against  public  tranquillity are  those  in which no actual force is either  employed  or displayed, but in which steps are taken tending to cause it. These  are  the  formation of  secret  societies,  seditious



conspiracies, libels or words spoken.     Under these two heads all offences against the  internal public  tranquillity  of  the  State may  be arranged."     This  passage  brings out two  matters  with  remarkable clarity.   It shows firstly that sedition is essentially  an offence   against   public  tranquillity and  secondly  that broadly  speaking there are two classes of offences  against public  tranquillity:  (a)  those  accompanied  by  violence including  disorders which 618 affect  tranquillity of a considerable number of persons  or an  extensive local area, and (b) those not  accompanied  by violence  but tending to cause it, such as seditious  utter- ances,  seditious conspiracies, etc. Both these  classes  of offences  are  such as will undermine the  security  of  the State  or tend to overthrow it if left unchecked, and, as  I have tried to point out, there is a good deal of  authorita- tive opinion in favour of the view that the gravity ascribed to  sedition is due to the fact that it tends  to  seriously affect  the  tranquillity  and security of  the  State.   In principle, then, it would not have been logical to refer  to sedition in clause (2) of article 19 and omit matters  which are  no  less grave and which have  equal  potentiality  for undermining the security of the State.  It appears that  the framers  of the Constitution preferred to adopt the  logical course and have used the more general and basic words  which are apt to cover sedition as well as other matters which are as detrimental to the security of the State as sedition.     If  the Act is to be viewed as I have suggested,  it  is difficult  to hold that section 7 (1) (c) falls outside  the ambit  of  article 19 (2). That clause clearly  states  that nothing in clause (1) (a) shall affect the operation of  any existing  law  relating to any matter which  undermines  the security of, or tends to overthrow, the State.  I have tried to  show that public disorders  and disturbance  of   public tranquillity   do undermine the  security of  the State  and if  the Act is a law aimed at preventing such disorders,  it fulfils the requirement of the Constitution.  It is needless to add that the word "State" has been defined in article  12 of  the Constitution to include "the Government and  Parlia- ment of India and the Government and Legislature of each  of the  States  and all local or other authorities  within  the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India."     I find that section 20 of the impugned Act provides that the Provincial Government may by notification 619 declare that the whole or any part of the Province as may be specified  in  the notification is a  dangerously  disturbed area.  This provision has some bearing on the aim and object of  the Act, and we cannot overlook it when considering  its scope.   It may be incidentally mentioned that we have  been informed  that, under this section, Delhi Province has  been notified to be a "dangerously disturbed area."     It must be recognized that freedom of speech and expres- sion  is  one of the most valuable rights guaranteed  to   a citizen by the  Constitution and should be jealously  guard- ed  by  the Courts.  It must also be  recognised  that  free political discussion is essential for the proper functioning of  a  democratic  government, and the  tendency  of  modern jurists  is  to deprecate censorship though they  all  agree that  "liberty of the press" is not to be confused with  its "licentiousness."   But  the Constitution  itself  has  pre- scribed  certain limits for the exercise of the  freedom  of speech and expression and this Court is only called upon  to



see whether a particular case comes within those limits.  In my  opinion,  the law which is impugned is  fully  saved  by article 19 (2) and if it cannot be successfully assailed  it is  not possible to grant the remedy which  the  petitioners are seeking here.     As has been stated already, the order which is  impugned in  this  case recites that the weekly  Organizer  has  been publishing highly objectionable matter constituting a threat to  public  law and order" and that the action which  it  is proposed  to take against the petitioners "is necessary  for the  purpose of preventing or combating activities  prejudi- cial  to public safety or the maintenance of public  order." These facts are supported by an affidavit sworn by the  Home Secretary  to the Chief Commissioner, who also states  among other  things that the order in question was passed  by  the Chief  Commissioner  in consultation with the Central  Press Advisory Committee, which is  an independent body elected by the All-India Newspaper Editors’ Conference and is  composed of 620 representatives  of some of the leading papers such  as  The Hindustan Times, Statesman, etc.  In my  opinion, there  can be no doubt that the Chief Commissioner has purported to act in this case within the sphere within which he is  permitted to  act  under the law, and it is beyond the power  of  this Court to grant the reliefs claimed by the petitioners.     In these circumstances, I would dismiss the petitioners’ application. Petition allowed. Agent for the petitioners: Ganpat Rai. Agent for the respondent: P.A. Mehta. 621