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Judgment Analysis of R. RAJAGOPAL & ANR. Vs. STATE OF T.N. & ORS.

Judgment Analysis of R. RAJAGOPAL & ANR. Vs. STATE OF T.N. & ORS.


This is a landmark case regarding the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to privacy. In this case, a prisoner who was sentenced to death penalty wrote a book and A suit was filed to prevent the publication of the book by Shankar(the prisoner). The main thing which has been explained in this judgment is the fact that the freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right and every citizen has a right to express his viewpoint in front of the public. The supreme court granted permission to publish a book.


➔    An auto driver named Shankar wrote a book who was accused of murder and was sentenced to the death penalty. 
➔    During that time he wrote an autobiography in prison explaining, his partners of the illegal acts and the relationship between prisoners and senior authorities in prison. 
➔    Before his death he handed over the book to his wife and asked her to publish the book.
➔    Afterwards having to know about the book the inspector general of prison sent a letter to the petitioner explaining that the information mentioned in the book is completely false and defamatory. And threatened that legal action would be taken for publishing such a book. 
➔    And the petition was dismissed in the high court and later on the matter was brought before the supreme court under Article 32 of the constitution. 


1 Whether freedom of speech and expression can be used as a justification for violating the right to privacy was a concern expressed.

2 Does the state have the authority to prevent the publication of a book because it would violate their right to privacy?

3 Whether the right to freedom of the press, as protected by article 19(1)(a), allows the press to publish an unauthorized account of a person's life, and if so, whether there are any remedies available in the event that the right to privacy is violated as a result.


❖    Every individual has a fundamental right to express his viewpoint. 
❖    Under Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution, the petitioner can publish the book whenever he desires. 
❖    They pointed out that the state officials tried to impose restrictions on the publishing of the book that their connection might get exposed.


The defendant's major argument was that Shankar's autobiography contained incorrect and disparaging information and that publishing it might interfere with or violate the officials' and prison officials' privacy. They additionally said that the petitioner had not provided sufficient evidence to establish whether Shankar was the author of the book or whether the accusation made by the publishers was true.


The Supreme Court held that Shankar, the book's author, has a fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and is entitled to publish the book wherever he pleases. It refers to many similar landmark judgments in this case. And right to freedom of speech and expression was given more weightage than the right to privacy because the right to privacy is not even an absolute right it depends on the case to case, but Article 19 is a part of the golden triangle of the constitution of India. Furthermore, no legal action involving the defamatory material that is covered by this case may be brought by public officials.

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