Friday, January 30, 2009
Free Speech v. Public Health
Last week, Tarunabh posted details of two new free speech orders that had been passed. In one of the orders, the judgment of which can be found here, the Delhi High Court struck down the ban on smoking in films. In an article in today's Indian Express, I examine this order through the lens of the conflict between free speech and public health. While I support the decision, particularly because Justice Kaul follows first principles rather than grounds of policy, I believe that one has to closely watch the future to witness how the field of public health law may develop in India. While in India, this area of law has hitherto not been regarded as an independent field of law, the increase in government regulations that aim to safeguard public health and thus infringe personal freedoms and impact human behaviour, could see courts following specific doctrinal approaches in public health cases.