New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a five judge Constitution Bench to examine whether the controversial disparaging remarks made by electricity Minister M.M. Mani against women, individuals and government officials will come within the ambit of free speech. A three judge Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud referred the special leave petition filed by Joseph Shine against a Kerala High Court verdict in May dismissing his plea.
The Bench after hearing counsel Kaleeswaram Raj and Suvidutt Sundaram tagged the matter with a pending issue relating to the hate speech of former UP Minister Azam Khan. The Constitution Bench is to examine whether such statements from Ministers exceeded the boundaries of free speech that is not permissible and whether such comments (which are not meant for self protection) defeat the concept of constitutional compassion and also the conception of constitutional sensitivity.