Petitioners include the editor, associate editor, printer and publisher of a Tamil magazine, Nakkheeran.
The petitioners sought to prohibit the respondents from interfering with the publication of an autobiography of a prisoner, Auto Shanker, in Nakkheeran.
is wish that this be published in the petitioners’ magazine. Before publishing the autobiography, Nakkheeran announced the publication. Prison officials then forced Shanker to write to the magazine requesting that the auto-biography not be publishe
violating the magazine’s and the prisoner’s Freedom of Expression.
iolating the magazine’s and the prisoner’s Freedom of Expression.
The Court explained that it was important to strike a balance between the freedom of the press and the right to privacy. The Court found that the state and its officials do not have the right to impose prior restraints on the publication of materials that may be defamatory of the state. Therefore, “no such prior restraint or prohibition of publication can be imposed by the respondents upon the proposed publication of the alleged autobiography
annot sue for defamation after the article is published, only that they cannot place a prior restraint on the publication of the article.
“Applying the above principles, it must be held that the petitioners have a right to publish, what they allege to be the life story/autobiography of Auto Shankar insofar as it appears from the public records, even without his consent or authorisation. But if they go beyond that and publish his life story, they may be invading his right to privacy and will be liable for the consequences in accordance with law. Similarly, the State or its officials cannot prevent or restrain the said publication. The remedy of the affected public officials/public figures, if any, is after the publication, as explained hereinabove.”
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