The right to be funny can also be added to Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution-Madras High Court

On December 17 2021, the Madras High Court quashed the FIR lodged against the youth over the Facebook post, saying that the ‘right to be funny’ can also be added to Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Right to be funny means right to be funny. The court said that if the cartoonist or satirist was giving this decision, then they might have added ‘duty to laugh’ in the fundamental duty. That is, the duty of laughing could also be added to the fundamental duties.

Facts of the Case :-

In Tamil Nadu, Communist Party of India (CPI-ML) leader Mathivanan went to visit the hill station with his family. During this, he posted photos of the trip on Facebook. The caption of the photo read ‘Trip to Sirumalai for shooting practice’ i.e. ‘Journey to Sirumalai for shooting practice’. Actually, Mathivanan had written this caption for photography, but the police registered a case against him, linking the shooting to the shooting.

Mathivanan was booked under several serious sections including criminal conspiracy, waging war against the country. Police arrested Mathivanan and produced him before a magistrate for remand. However, the magistrate refused to grant the remand. After this, Mathivanan moved the Madras High Court to get the case registered against him removed.


The matter was heard by a single bench of Justice GR Swaminathan. Justice Swaminathan said in his judgment that the right to be funny can also be added to Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution. That is, the right to be funny. We have got the right to freedom and expression under Article 19(1)(a).

The Court went on to observe that the correlative right to be funny can be “mined in Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India”.

At the beginning of the judgment, it was also said that if any cartoonist or satirist was giving this verdict, they would have added Duty to Laugh in the fundamental duty. That is, laughing would also have been added to the list of your fundamental duties. The court also said that being funny and making fun of others are two completely different things. What should we laugh at is a serious question. Any normal person would have laughed seeing Mathivanan’s Facebook post. The High Court believes that just as you have got many rights under the Constitution, in the same way the right to be funny can also be given.

The Court also observed that except giving the title mentioned above to the photographs amateurishly taken on the occasion of his trip to Sirumalai hills, the petitioner has done nothing else. The petitioner is aged 62 years. His daughter is standing next to him. His son-in-law is also seen in the photograph. Four other photographs capturing the scenic beauty of the place have also been posted. No weapon or proscribed material was recovered from the petitioner. The petitioner neither intended to wage war nor did he commit any act towards preparation therefor.

The court quashed the FIR registered against Mathivanan on this basis.


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