Supreme Court Judgement regarding the liberty of artists to critique and criticize prevailing social values

Excerpt from the Hon’ble Supreme Court Judgement regarding the liberty of artists to critique and criticize prevailing social values

I was reading the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgement penned by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud in Indibility Creative Pvt Ltd versus Govt of West Bengal (2019) and found this bit really well written. A Writ Petition was filed by the petitioner Indibility Creative opposing the unlawful attempts by the West Bengal Police to prevent screenings of their feature film Bhobishyoter Bhoot.

If the right of the play-wright, artist, musician or actor were to be subjected to popular notions of what is or is not acceptable, the right itself and its guarantee under the Constitution would be rendered illusory. The true purpose of art, as manifest in its myriad forms, is to question and provoke. Art in an elemental sense reflects a human urge to question the assumptions on which societal values may be founded. In questioning prevailing social values and popular cultures, every art form seeks to espouse a vision. Underlying the vision of the artist is a desire to find a new
meaning for existence. The artist, in an effort to do so, is entitled to the fullest liberty and freedom to critique and criticize. Satire and irony are willing allies of the quest to entertain while at the same time to lead to self-reflection. We find in the foibles of others an image of our own lives. Our experiences provide meaning to our existence. Art is as much for the mainstream as it is for the margins. The Constitution protects the ability of every individual citizen to believe as much as to communicate, to conceptualize as much as to share.


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