State Cannot Curtail Free Speech Under the Guise of Mutiny and Inciting Enmity etc, Using Criminal Law. SC

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State Cannot Curtail Free Speech Under the Guise of Mutiny and Inciting Enmity etc, Using Criminal Law: SC

The Supreme Court has given a significant judgment in case titled, Ammad Yousaf ย ย versus the State and another (Crl. Petition No. 225 of 2023)ย wherein the Court has held that freedom of expression and right to information are two fundamental rights available to every citizens which cannot be restricted except as provided by law.

In this case, the petitioner and the main accused were said to be committed mutiny in a TV program. It was also alleged that they had tried to incite and promote enmity in the rank and file of the armed forces, which is a serious crime under the Pakistan Penal Code.ย  This case was lodged by the Islamabad administration on the direction of the Secretary of the Ministry of Interior.

The Court noted that the more and manner in which the case was lodged is not in accordance with the procedural law. The case appeared to the Court to be politically motived, and false and frivolous one. Hence, the Court allowed the CPLA and ruled that such false and frivolous cases foster fear and anxiety in the society. They creates a hostile environment for media as well, which is a means to impart information and express opinion. This practice, if allowed, will tantamount to curtailing fundamental rights of the citizens by the government.

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