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We still haven’t looked into Political speech ka special status.

We can bring in freedom of press in the 1st issue

Vagueness me get into statutory interpretation and say even if ambiguity of provision read with
preamble, then preamble itself is vague
Further, in creating an offence, Section 66A suffers from the vice of vagueness because unlike the
offence created by Section 66 of the same Act, none of the aforesaid terms are even attempted to
be defined and cannot be defined, the result being that innocent persons are roped in as well as
those who are not.
Such persons are not told clearly on which side of the line they fall; and it would be open to the
authorities to be as arbitrary and whimsical as they like in booking such persons under the said
The enforcement of the said Section would really be an insidious form of censorship which impairs
a core value contained in Article 19(1)(a).
The definition does not refer to what the content of false information can be. This ropes in all false
information which may refer to science & tech, art, culture, or even seditious and defamatory false
It does not differentiate between publication to one person and publication to a group of people.
Doesn’t differentiate between online gossiping and public debate.

Counsel for the Petitioners argued that the language used in Section 66A is so vague that neither
would an accused person be put on notice as to what exactly is the offence which has been
committed nor would the authorities administering the Section be clear as to on which side of a
clearly drawn line a particular communication will fall- false information, malicious (use sumit ka
case law to show how it differs across laws).

In Burstyn v. Wilson, a law criminalized sacrilegious writings and utterances. The court said that
all subjects in any way might be interpreted as offending religious beliefs of one or the other sect.

In Grayned v. City of Rockford, it was made clear that- It is a basic principle of due process that
an enactment is void for vagueness if its prohibitions are not clearly defined. Vague laws offend
several important values. First, because we assume that man is free to steer between lawful and
unlawful conduct, we insist that laws give the person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable
opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly. Vague laws may trap the
innocent by not providing fair warning. Second, if arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement is to
be prevented, laws must provide explicit standards for those who apply them. A vague law
impermissibly delegates basic policy matters to policemen, judges, and juries for resolution on an
ad hoc and subjective basis, with the attendant dangers of arbitrary and discriminatory application.
Third, but related, where a vague statute 'abut(s) upon sensitive areas of basic First Amendment
freedoms, it 'operates to inhibit the exercise of (those) freedoms.' Uncertain meanings inevitably
lead citizens to "steer far wider of the unlawful zone'... than if the boundaries of the forbidden areas
were clearly marked.' (at page 227-228)- Speaking
The void for vagueness doctrine addresses at least two connected but discrete due process
concerns: first, that regulated parties should know what is required of them so they may act
accordingly; second, precision and guidance are necessary so that those enforcing the law do not
act in an arbitrary or discriminatory way.

In in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Baldeo Prasad, an inclusive definition of the word "goonda" was
held to be vague and the offence created by Section 4A of the Goondas Act was, therefore,
violative of Article 19(1).

In K.A. Abbas v UOI, where the law admits of no such construction and the persons applying it
are in a boundless sea of uncertainty and the law prima facie takes away a guaranteed freedom, the
law must be held to offend the Constitution p. 470-471

Kartar Singh v State of Punjab, It is the basic principle of legal jurisprudence that an enactment is
void for vagueness if its prohibitions are not clearly defined. Vague laws offend several important
values. It is insisted or emphasized that laws should give the person of ordinary intelligence a
reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly. Vague laws
may trap the innocent by not providing fair warning. Para 130-131

Section 66A arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invades the right of free speech and
upsets the balance between such right and the reasonable restrictions that may be imposed on such

Malice has different meaning indifferent cased. It varies from civil to criminal law. Even in
criminal law, malice has a different sense across different categories of crimes.- p. 6 of West
Bengal State Electricity v Dilip Kumar Ray.

Disproportionate defined para 83 onwards Shreya Singhal

For Public Order wala sub-issue
The Petitioners' various counsel raised a large number of points as to the constitutionality of
Section 66A. According to them, first and foremost Section 66A infringes the fundamental right
to free speech and expression and is not saved by anyof the eight subjects covered in Article 19(2).
According to them, the causing of annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury,
criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill-will are all outside the purview of Article 19(2).

In New York Times v. Sullivan, 51 the facts were as follows: In 1960, the New York times carried
a full page paid advertisement sponsored by the 'Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the
Struggle for Freedom in the South', which asserted or implied that law enforcement officials in
Montgomery, Alabama, had improperly arrested and harassed Dr. King and other civil rights
demonstrators on various occasions. The respondent, who was the elected Police Commissioner
of Montgomery, brought an action for libel against the Times and several of the individual
signatories to the advertisement. It was found that some of the assertions contained in the
advertisement were inaccurate.
The State Court awarded damages against the newspaper, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed.
Brennan, J., stated:
"Authoritative interpretations of the First Amendment guarantees have consistently
refused to recognize an exception for any test of truth--whether administered by
judges, juries, or administrative officials--and especially one that puts the burden of
proving the truth on the speaker...... A rule compelling the critic of official conduct to
guarantee the truth of all his factual assertions--and to do so on pain of libel
judgments virtually unlimited in amount--leads to... "self-censorship". Allowance of
the defense of truth, with the burden of proving it on the defendant, does not mean
that only false speech will be deterred.... Under such a rule, would- be critics of official
conduct may be deterred from voicing their criticism, even though it is believed to be
true and even though it is in fact true, because of doubt whether it can be proved in
Court or fear of the expenses of having to do so. They tend to make only statements
which "steer far wider of the unlawful zone.".... The rule thus dampens the vigor and
limits the variety of public debate. It is inconsistent with the First and Fourteenth

The constitutional guarantees require, we think, a federal rule that prohibits a public
official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official
conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with "actual malice"--that is,
with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard to whether it was false or
In Derbyshire County Council v. Times Newspapers Ltd., 52 the House of Lords ruled that a local
authority could not sue the press for libel. The Lords held that there is no public interest in allowing
government institutions to sue for liable; A government body should be open to uninhibited public
criticism and a right to sue for defamation would place an undesirable fetter on freedom of speech.