chapter  6
33 Pages

Freedom of speech in the early constitution

A study of the Constitution (First Amendment) Bill
ByArudra Burra

Arudra Burra’s chapter deals with the constitutional provision on free speech. He, however, steps outside the Constituent Assembly to investigate the passage of the First Amendment to the Indian Constitution. The amendment has been viewed as controversial for the insertion of a “public order” exception to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. This amendment was enacted by the Provisional Parliament. Once the Constituent Assembly, which had also acted simultaneously as the Dominion Parliament, completed its work, the former was dissolved. With the adoption of the Constitution, India was no longer a dominion, and, therefore, the Dominion Parliament now came to be known as the “Provisional Parliament”. It was provisional insofar as it was not elected under the framework enacted in the new Constitution. Burra argues, against existing narratives, that the Provisional Parliament’s insertion of the public order exception was a response to judicial decisions that had arrived at an untenable position, necessitating some kind of constitutional amendment.