New Delhi, Feb 4: In the backdrop of controversy involving author Salman Rushdie, Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman Justice Markandey Katju today said freedom is not “absolute” and is subject to “reasonable restrictions” in the interest of public order.
His observation came in response to a question posed to him on micro-blogging site Twitter on whether absolute freedom existed.
“There is no absolute freedom. Every freedom is subject to reasonable restrictions in the public interest,” Justice Katju posted on the popular blogging site. He said since man is a social being, a balance has to be struck between freedom and its restrictions. Freedom is not absolute even in the United States, the former Supreme Court judge said. “It is subject to reasonable restriction in the social interest.”
He also said India and America have different setups.
“What may be acceptable in America may not be acceptable here,” he wrote referring to a poser on certain rights provided to citizens in the US.
Referring to religious sentiments, he said the hold of religion in the West is “much weaker than in India” because the West is much more industrialised.
“If u call Jesus Christ gay in America, it won't provoke disturbance, there will be (disturbance) if u call Hindu or Muslim figures gay in India,” he explained.
Recently, Justice Katju had said that an individual's freedom of speech has to be harmonised with the public interest and noted that Article 19(2) provides for “reasonable restrictions” on the freedom of speech in the interest of security of the state, public order etc.