Can the denial of the jail authorities in getting the condemned prisoners interviewed by a journalist be treated as violation of Article 19 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution?
In M. Hasan v. Government Of Andhra Pradesh the Andhra High Court held that every citizen has a right to propagate his ideas and views on many aspects through available media without any fear or favour as long as they stand the test of reasonable restrictions. A film, movie, television or videograph are the modes of communicating the views and ideas as such, refusal to interview the willing condemned prisoners is quite illegal and unconstitutional. He has a right to give his ideas and he is entitled to be interviewed or to be televised. When such being the settled position we fail to understand why the jail authorities shall apprehend such reporting or videography as not reasonable and not in the interest of safety and security. Even their Jail Manual permits the prisoner to be interviewed by others including a friend provided he is willing. A friend includes a journalist and which in turn includes a videographer. There is a letter written by the condemned prisoners expressing their willingness to be interviewed by the journalist and the videographer. Under these circumstances, it is not just and proper for the jail authorities to prevent the petitioners to interview the condemned prisoners orally and by videographing. Any such denial is deprivation of a citizen’s fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.