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Copy of the Judgment

Copy of the Judgment

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Published by Pallavi Sawhney

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Published by: Pallavi Sawhney on Sep 14, 2012
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11/04/2012

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REPORTABLE 
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIACIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTIONWRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 210 of 2012Namit Sharma PetitionerVersusUnion of India RespondentJ U D G M E N TSwatanter Kumar, J.
1. The value of any freedom is determined by the extent towhich the citizens are able to enjoy such freedom. Ours is aconstitutional democracy and it is axiomatic that citizens havethe right to know about the affairs of the Government which,having been elected by them, seeks to formulate some policies of governance aimed at their welfare. However, like any otherfreedom, this freedom also has limitations. It is a settledproposition that the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expressionenshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India (for
 
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short ‘the Constitution’) encompasses the right to impart andreceive information. The Right to Information has been stated tobe one of the important facets of proper governance. With thepassage of time, this concept has not only developed in the fieldof law, but also has attained new dimensions in its application. This court while highlighting the need for the society and itsentitlement to know has observed that public interest is betterserved by effective application of the right to information. Thisfreedom has been accepted in one form or the other in variousparts of the world. This Court, in absence of any statutory law,in the case of 
Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,Government of India & Ors. v. Cricket Association of Bengal & Anr.
[(1995) 2 SCC 161] held as under :“The democracy cannot exist unless allcitizens have a right to participate in theaffairs of the polity of the country. The rightto participate in the affairs of the country ismeaningless unless the citizens are wellinformed on all sides of the issues, in respectof which they are called upon to expresstheir views. One-sided information,disinformation, misinformation and non-information, all equally create anuninformed citizenry which makesdemocracy a farce when medium of information is monopolized either by apartisan central authority or by privateindividuals or oligarchy organizations. This
 
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is particularly so in a country like ourswhere about 65 per cent of the population isilliterate and hardly 1 ½ per cent of thepopulation has an access to the print mediawhich is not subject to pre-censorship.”2. The legal principle of ‘A man’s house is his castle. Themidnight knock by the police bully breaking into the peace of thecitizen’s home is outrageous in law’, stated by Edward Coke hasbeen explained by Justice Douglas as follows:“The free State offers what a police statedenies – the privacy of the home, the dignity and peace of mind of the individual. Thatprecious right to be left alone is violated oncethe police enter our conversations.”3. The States which are governed by Policing and have a policy of greater restriction and control obviously restrict the enjoymentof such freedoms. That, however, does not necessarily imply thatthis freedom is restriction-free in the States where democraticgovernance prevails. Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution itself iscontrolled by the reasonable restrictions imposed by the State by enacting various laws from time to time.4. The petitioner, a public spirited citizen, has approached thisCourt under Article 32 of the Constitution stating that though

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