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Does the Gov Have So Little Faith In Public’s Intellect and Firm-Mindedness? Bombay HC Hears Fact-check Challenge

The bench questioned the rationale for the fact-check amendment and pointed out that the Indian govt’s affidavit filed in reply to the petitions did not clarify it either.

"Are the citizens of this country to be treated in such a manner? That the government has so low an opinion of all the citizens of this country, of their intellect, their reasonableness, to use the Supreme Court's language, of ‘their firm-mindedness’, their discernment, that they need to be treated by a nanny state?" asked Senior Advocate Navroz Seervai yesterday, while appearing for Kunal Kamra in his Bombay High Court challenge against the Indian government giving itself powers to fact-check government-related information online. "Does the government have so little faith and confidence in the public that they actually have to tell the Court that we are in the role of a parens patriae to the 1.4 billion people of this country, we have to mother them like a nanny does, and therefore shield them from anything that is bad and distasteful, which in this case is anything the government says is not the truth," Seervai continued. "At the end of the day, that's the bottom line. The government’s affidavit gives it away. This is the background that the matter will have to necessarily be considered in..." Kamra, a comedian, was the first to challenge the government's fact-check proposal back in April on free speech grounds, after which the IT Ministry stayed the provision until July 10th. After this, the Editor's Guild of India and the Association of Indian Magazines filed separate challenges against the provision too. Justices G.S. Patel and Neela Gokhale will continue hearing the arguments today. What did the…

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