When people fear government, there is tyranny: CJI Misra quotes Jefferson
The CJI was quoting Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of the United States of America and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, while speaking on the topic of “citizenry liberty”.
“When government fears the people, there is liberty. When people fear the government, it is tyranny,” Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India, said while addressing the students of Galgotias University in Greater Noida on Tuesday evening.
The CJI was quoting Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of the United States of America and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, while speaking on the topic of “citizenry liberty” at the university campus.
“Patrick Henry had said: ‘Give me liberty or give me death’. Liberty is a permanent value and we cannot barter it. When the liberty of a citizen is at stake and as long as they say no to its barter, liberty is saved. Neither you nor I can survive without the values of democracy and, without liberty, life is nothing. When you lose your liberty without proper procedure of law, then you are half dead,” Misra said.
The chief justice also spoke about the need to preserve the freedom of speech while referring to the Shreya Singhal versus Union of India case wherein the Supreme Court had quashed Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.
“The word that was in contention in this case was ‘annoyance’. The court had said this kind of creation of an offence has a chilling effect on free speech and expression.The court deemed the arrest unconstitutional and paved the way for citizenry liberty,” Misra said.
Misra also referred to the controversy over Bollywood movie Padmavaat — members of right wing outfit Karni Sena goons had created a ruckus in several states while seeking a ban on the film.
“Padmavaat was banned in four states and their explanation for doing this was “preserving law and order”. The film had already received a certificate from the censor board. The court then said that you cannot ban it,” Misra said.