About the book
Tuesday, August 30, 1988 - something undesirable, uncalled for and unexpected happened . The Lok Sabha passed the Defamation Bill, in haste, without taking into consideration the opinion and views of the people, the Press and the Opposition. Never before such an attempt was made by any democratic Government to crub the freedom of the Press, trample the rights of the people and cripple the Opposition.
The Opposition challenged the Bill, the Press rose to action against it, the people resented it, the intelligentsia protested against it and the Lawyers flayed it. When the protest movement gained fast momentum, the Government of India was forced to withdraw the bill.
In This Book, among other things, the author discusses the role and importance of the Press and restrictions on its freedom in India in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, covering :
Regulations of 1799; Ordinance of 1823; Metcalf Act of 1835; Act of 1857; Indian Penal Code, 1860; The Press & Registration of Books Act, 1867; Vernacular Press Act, 1878; Criminal Procedure Code, 1898; Acts of 1908 and 1910; Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1913 & the Defence of India Regulations, 1914; Official Secrets Act, 1923; The Indian Press (Emergence Powers) Act, 1931; The Press (Objectionable Matter) Act, 1951; The Press (Objectionable Matter ) Repealing Act, 1957; The Prevention of publication of Objectionable Matter Act, 1976; The prevention of publication of Objectionable Matter (Repeal) Act, 1977; The Defamation Bill, 1988 and its aftermath. The Law of Crimes of Defamation; and The Jammu & Kashmir Press Bill.
I am highly impressed by Dr. K.S. Padhy's work (Battle for Freedom of Press in India) as it is quite interesting, valuable and relevant. I hope the present work will be highly useful to students of Journalism and Mass Communication, Political Science, History and Law as well as to any free thinking and sensitive citizen of the country.
Prof. B.B. Deo,
Behampur University, Orissa
The Book Battle for Freedom of Press in India is an academician's record of different phases of the ill-advised move to get the Defamation Bill passed, the debates over the issue, the relevant views of politicians, journalists and lawyers and the circumstances of its withdrawal. Dr. K.S. Padhy's work is commendable as it convincingly indicates the precipitous path the country would have slided down if the Bill would have been made into a law.