Right to Criticize the Government is Citizens’ Right


The Government is not above the people. In the democratic form of governance, those who govern are servants of those who are governed. So the Government in a democracy is the servant of the people. Therefore, the citizens have right to criticise the policies of the government.

In the famous “The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment”, The First Amendment of the American constitution that ensures the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press was challenged in 1960 by the city of Montgomery, Alabama, which sued the New York Times for libel. The NY Times had published the brutality of Montgomery city office in response to civil rights protests. But, the U.S. Supreme Court’s historically reversed the original verdict making it clear that the citizens have a right to criticise the Government. The ordinary citizens of the country and the newspapers can be critical.

Though Indian legal system is different than the American legal system, it is clear by the constitutional rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution that the citizens can criticise the Government. It is an important right in the democracy which ensures critical comments on the state of governance in the country.

Whether it’s the Government run the RSS/BJP, the Congress, or any regional party at national or state or local level, the citizens can make their comments. This right was denied to people by the Government is actually the murder of democracy. The RSS/BJP is already trying to kill the rights of the citizens about their choices. The fundamental rights in the Constitution are well balanced by the “reasonable restrictions”, but to snatch away the entire power entrusted by the Constitution on its citizens is against the democracy and the constitution.

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It is also strange to see that the people who are praising the political murders are being supported by the established people in the Government. It clearly shows the hand in glows of the people who are opposed to the thinking different from them.

There is a pattern in the killing. All those who are killed have been against fundamentalist Brahminism and they were critical of the policies of the RSS/BJP. They have been killed with the same weapon and interestingly they have might have been killed by the same group of people. So, the right to criticise is now compromised and we have to be cautious not to get it completely destroyed.

Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist

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  1. 1

    Well said Mangesh bhai! Has time come to implement formula of 1:3? How can we be only mute spectators? Dabholkar, Kalburgi, Pansare, and now Gauri. There are many more killings which are not brought into notice. How will justice prevail? who will give common citizen “Right to Criticize the Government?” Manusmriti has denied freedom of speech since ages.

  2. 2
    Jayaraju Yeggoni

    Indian democracy, it’s cherished principles of personal liberty, freedom of speech and expression and religion guaranteed under the Constitution is under serious threat as Manuvadi forces tightening their grip over all institutions of democracy silencing critics as evidenced by the similar pattern series of brutal killing of Gowri Lankesh,and other activists earlier. “The “monster of religious intolerance” is causing permanent damage to the plural, syncretic and secular democracy, ” The modus operandi in Lankesh’s murder is eerily similar to that of Narendra Dabholkar (2013) in Pune, Govind Pansare (2015) in Kolhapur and M.M. Kalburgi (2015) in Dharwad.

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