1. Fixation of Maximum Pages
Bennet Coleman Co. v. Union of India1, the validity The Newsprint Print Control Order 1962 which fixed the maximum number of pages at 10 which a newspaper could publish was challenged as violative of fundamental Rights guaranteed in Art. 19(1)(a) and Art. 14 of the Constitution. The Court has held that the Government can make a fair and equitable allotment of the available newsprint to the newspapers but once the allotments are made newspapers must be left free to determine how they will adjust their newsprint. They must be left free to determine their pages their circulation and their new editions within the quota allotted to them. Freedom is both in circulation and content. Hence, it has been made clear that the fixation of maximum number of pages of newspapers by the Government is against the freedom of press guaranteed by Art. 19(1)(a).
2. Fixation of minimum price according to number of pages
In Sakal Paper Ltd. v. Union India,2 the Daily Newspapers (Price and Page) Order, 1960, which fixed a minimum price and number of pages which a newspaper as entitled to publish was challenged as unconstitutional on the ground that it infringed the Liberty of press guaranteed under Art. 19(1)(a). The Court has made it clear that the freedom of speech and expression cannot be curtailed in the interest of the general public. The only restrictions which may be imposed on this right are those which clause (2) of Article 19 permits. Accordingly the court has held that Section 3(1) of the Newspaper (Price and Page) Act, 1956 and the Daily Newspaper (Price and Page) Order, 1960 made thereunder were unconstitutional as being in violation of Article 19(1)(a)
3. Levy of duty or tax on Newspaper industry
In Indian Express Newspaper v. Union of India,3 the petitioner challenged the imposition of import duty and the levy of auxiliary duty on the newsprint on the ground of infringement of the freedom of press a t imposed a burden beyond the capacity of the industry and also affects the circulation of the newspapers and periodicals. The Supreme Court has held that the newspaper has no immunity from general laws like taxation or labour law.
The Court has rejected the plea that no duty can be levied on the Newspaper. The levy of duty or tax on the newspaper industry will be valid if it is within reasonable limit. The court has held that levy of duty or tax on the paper industry is subject to review by courts in the light of the provisions industry.
4. Regulation of conditions of service of workmen in Newspaper
In Express Newspapers Ltd. v. Union of India,4 the regulation of conditions of service of workmen in Newspaper rough Working Journalists (Constitution of Service and Miscellaneous visions) Act, 1955 was challenged. The Court has held that the object of the Industry the Act was the amelioration of the conditions of the workmen in the newspaper industry. The Court has made it clear that the press has no immunity from generallaws like taxation or industrial laws consequently, the court has held that Act is valid
5. Commercial Advertisement
Advertisement is undoubtedly a form of speech. But every form advertisement is not a form of speech or expression of ideas. Advertisement when it takes the form of commercial advertisement no longer falls within the concept of freedom of speech for the object of such advertisement is not dae proportion of ideas – social, political or economic or furtherance of literature on human thought. Hence, an advertisement of commercial nature is not protectedunder Art. 19(1)(a).
Censorship of the press is not specifically prohibited by a provision of the constitution. Like other restrictions, its constitutionality has to be judged by the test of reasonableness within the meaning of Article 19(2) Imposition of Pre-Censorship on a journal or newspaper previous to its publications is a restriction on the freedom of press and will amount Freedom of Press infringement of the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a). However, the pre-censorship may be valid if it can be justified on any und of reasonable restriction permitted by Art. 19(2), But, the imposition ofre-censorship in the emergency circumstances e.g., for the prevention of breach of peace or communal disturbance will be valid.
1 AIR 1973 SC 1061
2 AIR 1962 SC 305
3 (1985) 1 SCC 641
4 AIR 1958 SC 578