There can be no quarrel about the Supreme Court’s competence to quash criminal proceedings pending before Subordinate Courts. However, this power must be exercised sparingly and with circumspection. In S. Khushboo v. Kanniamal, (2010) 5 SCC 600 (‘S. Khushboo‘) the Supreme Court quashed the several criminal proceedings initiated against actress Khushboo for comments she had made on pre-marital sex. Hon’ble Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, who authored the Judgment, noted that there is a “need to tolerate unpopular views in the socio-cultural space…since the free flow of opinions and ideas is essential to sustain the collective life of the citizenry.” Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman in the recent Information Technology Act-Judgment has commented on S. Khushboo as ‘important‘ in that “it refers to the market place of ideas concept that has permeated American Law”. It is for sure that the concept is going to find further elucidation in future Judgments.
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