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HC rejects plea to ban Salman Khurshid book: ‘Democracy would be in peril if creative voices are stifled’

🔴 “The freedom to freely express ideas and opinions cannot be permitted to be overshadowed by the ominous cloud of being non-conformist,” said Justice Varma in the order.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
Updated: November 26, 2021 11:31:41 pm
Senior Congress Leader and Former union minister Salman Khurshid. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

The Delhi High Court Friday said a democracy governed by the rule of law would be placed in a serious peril if creative voices were stifled or intellectual freedom is suppressed or suffocated.

Quoting Voltaire in the order, the court said, “While I wholly disagree of what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

“The freedoms guaranteed by Article 19 are not liable to be freely expressed only if they fall in line with a majoritarian view. The right to dissent or to have and express a contrarian view with respect to current affairs or historical events are the essence of a vibrant democracy,” said Justice Yashwant Varma in the order dismissing a petition seeking ban on Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s latest book in which he equates Hindutva groups with terror outfits like Islamic State and Boko Haram.

The court further said the fundamental and precious right guaranteed by the Constitution can neither be restricted nor denied merely on the perceived apprehension of the view being unpalatable or disagreeable to some.

“The freedom to freely express ideas and opinions cannot be permitted to be overshadowed by the ominous cloud of being non-conformist,” said Justice Varma in the order.

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