It is not our forte to answer whether it is better to be free than secure or be secure rather than free. However, we are here only to ensure that citizens are provided all the rights and liberty to the highest extent in a given situation while ensuring security at the same time.
There is no gainsaying that in today’s world the internet stands as the most utilized and accessible medium for exchange of information. The revolution within the cyberspace has been phenomenal in the past decade, wherein the limitation of storage space and accessibility of print medium has been remedied by the usage of internet. Modern terrorism heavily relies on the internet. Operations on the internet do not require substantial expenditure and are not traceable easily. The internet is being used to support fallacious proxy wars by raising money, recruiting and spreading propaganda/ideologies. The prevalence of the internet provides an easy inroad to young impressionable minds.
Hukam Chand Shyam Lal v. Union of India, (1976) 2 SCC 128 was followed in People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v. Union of India, (1997) 1 SCC 301. We direct that all the procedural safeguards, as elucidated by us, need to be mandatorily followed. Hukam Chand Shyam Lal observed:
“It is well-settled that where a power is required to be exercised by a certain authority in a certain way, it should be exercised in that manner or not at all, and all other modes of performance are necessarily forbidden. It is all the more necessary to observe this rule where power is of a drastic nature...”
Bennett Coleman v. Union of India, (1972) 2 SCC 788 has expounded on the right of freedom of press. There is no doubt that the freedom of the press is a valuable and sacred right enshrined under Article 19(1)(a). There is no justification in allowing a sword of Damocles to hang over the press indefinitely.
– Hon’ble Justice N.V. Ramana, Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1031 of 2019].