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Ramlila Maidan Incident Essay

3727 words - 15 pages

"Power Tends To Corrupt, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely"
-John Acton

India is the largest functional democracy in the world, and the Constitution of India is unique in each and every way. The Constitution of India is a mammoth piece of document; in fact the Indian Constitution is the longest in the world. As of now is has 441 Articles and 12 Schedules. It is probably the longest of the organic laws now extant in the world. The Constitution of India confers upon India the status of Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. It allows us to elect our representatives and to form a government to makes laws and enforce them.
The Constitution of India guarantees to the people ...view middle of the document...

He demanded that an ordinance having the effect of the same should be passed, and till such ordinance or some alternate arrangement having the same effect (bringing back black money) was passed or made, he would not eat anything and went on a fast or Anshan. Ramlila Maidan was the venue of this Anshan and was subsequently the place of incident. The government was in no mood to agree to all the terms and condition of the Baba.
What happened next was that the government fearing anti-government sentiments and the like tried to stop Baba Ramdev and his supporters by passing an order under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and barging in the Ramlila Maidan at midnight with police force and used tear gas, water-guns, stone pelting, etc to disperse the sleeping crowd and arrested Baba Ramdev. The purpose was to suppress the anti-government sentiment and also to stop or deter people from taking up such methods of revolts.
The Supreme Court of India took suo moto cognizance of the incident and decided on the matter. The honourable court evolved a new right- right to sleep peacefully and declared it as one of the Fundamental Rights.
One if the major issue dealt by the Honourable Court was -
Whether the liberties and freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 19 and Article 21 were absolute or could be reasonably restricted and also what methods would be reasonable.
It appears justified here to mention the First Amendment to the United States (US) Constitution, a bellwether in the pursuit of expanding the horizon of civil liberties. This Amendment provides for the freedom of speech of press in the American Bill of Rights. This Amendment added new dimensions to this right to freedom and purportedly, without any limitations. The expressions used in wording the Amendment have a wide magnitude and are capable of liberal construction.
The freedom of speech of press was considered absolute and free from any restrictions whatsoever. Shortly thereafter, as a result of widening of the power of judicial review, the US Supreme Court preferred to test each case on the touchstone of the rule of 'clear- and-present-danger'. However, application of this rule was unable to withstand the pace of development of law and, therefore, through its judicial pronouncements, the US Supreme Court applied the doctrine of 'balancing of interests'.
The cases relating to speech did not simply involve the rights of the offending speaker but typically they presented a clash of several rights or a conflict between individual rights and necessary functions of the Government. Justice Frankfurter often applied the above-mentioned Balancing Formula and concluded that "while the court has emphasized the importance of 'free speech', it has recognized that free speech is not in itself a touchstone. The Constitution is not unmindful of other important interests, such as public order, if free expression of ideas is not found to be the overbalancing...

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