Constitutional Bench to hear whether right to free speech of public office holders may be curtailed by other fundamental rights.

A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear arguments raising the question,whether right to free speech and expression of persons holding public offices may be curtailed by other fundamental rights.

The case is related to an incident of July 29, 2016, when a young girl and her mother, while passing through Bulandshahr on the national highway were stopped by criminals who dragged the 13-year-old girl and her mother out of the car and gangraped them in a field nearby.

Pursuant to filing of the FIR by the victims,that time minister and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan made a statement terming the incident as a, “political conspiracy” against the present government.

In 2016, the victims filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court, seeking action against the minister for making such remarks about the incident. Fearing the absence of a fair investigation in Uttar Pradesh, they requested the court to transfer the case to another state.

On November 17, 2016, the Court ordered an unconditional apology to be submitted by Azam Khan.

On April 20, 2017, the court referred the matter to a five-judge constitution bench and requested the Amicus Curiae to formulate questions of law for the bench to consider.
The questions were framed and submitted to the court on July 31, 2017.

On October 23, 2019 a constitution bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat began hearing the matter.

The bench listed the matter for next hearing on August 24, 2020.

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