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Ramesh Lal Saha Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCri. Revn. No. 157 of 1950
Judge
Reported inAIR1951Cal36,55CWN139
ActsPress (Emergency Powers) Act, 1931 - Section 7 and 7(1); ;Constitution of India - Article 19 and 19(2)
AppellantRamesh Lal Saha
RespondentThe State
Appellant AdvocateAsoke Chandra Sen, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateJ.M. Banerjea, Adv.
Excerpt:
- .....is an existing law relating to the matter which undermines security of or tends to overthrow the state. the press act deals with dangerous utterances and provision is made for demanding security from publishers who are likely to indulge in such utterances. it is a legislation touching very closely sedition and matters of that kind and i think that this sub-section of the press (emergency powers) act falls within clause (2) of article 19 of the constitution and therefore is not ultra vires that article.5. it has been suggested that we should interfere because no sufficient reason has been given. but a reason has been recorded which is a good reason, if true, and we have no material at all upon which we could hold, even if we were entitled to hold, that there were no grounds for this.....
Judgment:

Harries, C.J.

1. This is a petition for revision of an order of the learned Additional District Magistrate of 24 Parganas demanding a security of Rs. 1000/- from the petitioner Under Section 7 (l), Press (Emergency Powers) Act, 1931. Sub-section (1) of Section 7 is in these terms :

'Any publisher of a newspaper who is required to make a declaration Under Section 5, Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, may be required by the Magistrate before whom the declaration is made, for reasons to be recorded in writing, to deposit with the Magistrate within ten days from the day on which the declaration is made, security to such an amount, not being more than one thousand rupees, as the Magistrate may in each case think fit to require, in money or the equivalent thereof in securities of the Central Government as the person making the deposit may choose .....'

2. The Magistrate instructed the security police to make investigations and on the material before him he gave his reasons for demanding a security of Rs. 1000/-. The reasons he gave were to prevent irresponsible and dangerous writings which would endanger peace and the security of the State.

3. It was argued in the first place that this section requiring security is ultra vires the Constitution as it places a restriction on the freedom of speech which is not permissible under Article 19(2) of the Constitution. That clause provides :

'Nothing in Sub-clause (a) of Clause (1) (which states the right to freedom of speech and expression) shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevents the State from making any law relating to libel, slander, defamation, contempt of Court or any matter which offends against decency or morality or which undermines the security of or tends to overthrow, the State.'

4 It appears to us that this is an existing law relating to the matter which undermines security of or tends to overthrow the State. The Press Act deals with dangerous utterances and provision is made for demanding security from publishers who are likely to indulge in such utterances. It is a legislation touching very closely sedition and matters of that kind and I think that this sub-section of the Press (Emergency Powers) Act falls within Clause (2) of Article 19 of the Constitution and therefore is not ultra vires that article.

5. It has been suggested that we should interfere because no sufficient reason has been given. But a reason has been recorded which is a good reason, if true, and we have no material at all upon which we could hold, even if we were entitled to hold, that there were no grounds for this order.

6. The learned Advocate for the State has contended that we have no jurisdiction in this matter at all and he has relied upon Section 23, Press (Emergency Powers) Act which sets out the powers of the High Court. I do not think it is necessary to consider whether we could or could not interfere in revision although my inclination would be to hold that we could not. This does not appear to be a judicial matter, but rather an executive matter and with such matters the Court cannot interfere Under Section 439, Criminal P. C. However, even assuming that we could interfere I do not think that there is any material upon which we could hold that the order of the learned Magistrate is not justified. Of course if the Act was ultra vires then it would be our plain duty to interfere. But such has not been established.

7. In the result, therefore, I would discharge this rule. The stay order is vacated.

Sarkar, J.

8. I agree.


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