A chilling remark and the ‘price to pay’

Source– The post is based on the article “A chilling remark and the ‘price to pay’” published in The Hindu on 25th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS2-Polity

Relevance: Importance of freedom in democracy

News-  The Union Law Minister  to label retired judges who question “state policies” as being “anti-India” elements. It is a flawed understanding of concepts and a matter of grave concern for citizens.

What are the rights of retired judges with respect to free speech?

Judges who demit office are also citizens of this country. They have a right to free speech and expression. They have a duty to speak up when they find the legislature, the executive or even the judiciary to be transgressing their limits.

The act of questioning the state is not a case of being “anti-national”.It is a case of being a “concerned patriot”. The response of the state has to be to either justify the measures it has adopted, or take the advice offered and course correct.

The remarks impact the rest of the citizenry. They will generate less ideas. There will be fewer discussions on issues of seminal importance as there could be a tendency from now on to play it safe.

Actions of the state will be unchecked because mere acts of questioning the state will endanger the individual.

What is the importance of freedom?

The final end of the state is to make men free to develop them. The deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary.

Liberty is both an end and means. Liberty ensures happiness.

Freedom to think is necessary to discover and spread political truth. Without free speech, assembly discussion would be futile.

The greatest threat to freedom is an inert people and public discussion is a political duty.

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