sheela barse

SHEELA BARSE VS STATE OF MAHARASHTRA, 1987 (Case Summary)

JUDGEMENTS Landmark Judgements
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Facts of SHEELA BARSE VS STATE OF MAHARASHTRA:

Sheela Barse, a woman who worked as a freelance journalist, asked the jail authorities for permission to interview female inmates of the Maharashtra State Jail.  Permission was granted for an interview by the Inspector General of Prisons and after obtaining permission to conduct the interview, the applicant began tape-recording of his interview with the inmates and thenwithdrew the interview permission after learning about it by the jail authorities. 

Angered by the authority’s decision to revoke the permission, the journalist moved the court on a writ petition, saying that any Indian citizen has the right to know under Article 19 (1) (a) and 21 of the Constitution of India and later when the matter came up for hearing, the Inspector General of Prisons said in his counter affidavit.  The permission granted to the applicant was revoked by the appropriate authority on the ground that the applicant was granted permission in case of violation of permission. 

The Maharashtra Prison Manual and it was invalid and it was also stated by the respondents that the provisions of the Constitution mentioned by the applicant are not applicable in this case and the applicant is not entitled to uncontrolled interviews and the resulting factual information. The image is not published in the media.  Further removal of the respondent’s suggestion further states that the interview cannot be pressured on anyone and that the willingness of the detainee to interview should be emphasized before any particular person interviews the detainee.[1]

Issue of SHEELA BARSE VS STATE OF MAHARASHTRA :

  By refusing to interview the detainees, the fundamental rights of the applicant have been violated by the authorities under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution and Article 21 of the Constitution?

  Whether uncontrolled interviews of detainees claimed by the applicant are allowed?

Court views in SHEELA BARSE VS STATE OF MAHARASHTRA:

  Counsel for the petitioner argued in court that Article 19 (1) (a) and Article 21 guarantee every citizen reasonable access to the law making, law, enforcement and enforcement agencies and that every citizen has such information through government agencies, including the media.  The right to receive is physically impossible for every citizen to be informed about all matters of public importance, both personally and privately. 

As a journalist, the applicant has the right to collect and disseminate such information under Article 21 of the Constitution, subject to restrictions imposed by the Indian Constitution and conditions in Indian prisons where both the convicted person and the convicted prisoner are directly connected.  Respondents claimed in their written statements that the idea of ​​separating prisoners from society was to keep prisoners under strict control.[2]

 The court referred to the case of Prabha Dutt v. Union and India for deciding the case, where the court observed before considering the merits of the application that the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression was not a perfect right under 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution, or  It also does not give the media the right to unlimited access to information media and also gives the media the right to exercise its right to freedom.  Statements and opinions that do not invade the rights of other citizens and which do not violate India’s sovereignty and integrity, state security, public order, decency and morality. 

Referring to the present case, the court held that the right claimed by the petitioner was not the right to express any particular opinion or opinion, but the right to information through interviews of the two prisoners.  No such claim can be made by the press unless, at first, the person attempting to be interviewed agrees to the interview.  After further removal, the court further referred to SP Gupta and Oras.  Vs. Union of India and Ors where it was held that the demand for openness in government is basically based on two reasons.  It is now widely acknowledged that democracy is not made up of people who exercise their voting right only once in five years to elect their rulers, and once they have voted, retire to passivity and are not interested in government.  Today it is common causes that democracy has more positive content and its orchestration must be uninterrupted and extensive.

By Moumita Muhuri

3rd year of Shyambazar Law College.


[1] Judgement-Sheela Barse Vs. State of Maharashtra | Lawsisto Legal News, https://lawsisto.com/legalnewsread/OTIzNw==/Judgement-Sheela-Barse-Vs-State-of-Maharashtra.

[2] Sheela Barse vs State Of Maharashtra on 18 September, 1987- https://indiankanoon.org/doc/6004/.

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