R Raja Gopal vs. State Of Tamil Nadu (Landmark Case)

R Raja Gopal vs. State Of Tamil Nadu

Case Name – R Raja Gopal vs. State Of Tamil Nadu

Citation No: 1995 AIR 265, 1994 SCC (6) 632

Bench:  B.P.Jeevan Reddy

 

Introduction:

This case is about Freedom of Press r/w Right to Privacy. The case challenges the limitations of the Right of press analysing the acts of public officials.

 

 

Facts of the case:

  1. One auto Shankar wrote his autobiography in 300 pages, during 1991 in Chenglepat sub/jail. He was charged and tried for six murders and was sentenced to death by learned Session Judge. His appeal was dismissed by Madras High Court and mercy petition was pending before the President.
  2. The autography was given to his wife by him with the knowledge of the Jail Authorities and his advocate Sri.Chandrasekaran with the wish, the book to be published in the Petitioners magazine NAKKHEERAN.
  3. The Autobiography was in relation between the prisoner and several IAS, IPS officer of being an accomplice in many crimes. The presence of such officers at the house warming ceremony of Shankar is proved by the video recording.
  4. Before the publication was released an announcement was made regarding the same which led to alertness amongst the people who are linked.
  5. These people applying 3rd degree methods compelled the prisoner to write letters to Inspector General of Prisons and the Publishers who were the Petitioners in this case, to not to publish the said book since all the facts mentioned were untrue.

 

 

Issues:

  1. Whether a citizen can prevent another citizen even if convicted from writing his life story?
  2. Whether the government has any legal authority to impose restrictions on press to prevent publication of Defamatory Truth Material.?

 

 

Judgement:

  1. The Petitioners have the right to publish the Autobiography of auto Shankar even without his consent.
  2. The State or its officials cannot prevent the said publication.
  3. The Right to Privacy forms a part of Right to life and Liberty under Article 21 and is available to all irrespective of Status.
  4. The Writ Petition was allowed.
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