Reading Crowds into The First Amendment to the Indian Constitution

The First Amendment to the Indian Constitution is widely considered a foundational moment in the development of jurisprudence around the right to, and limits on the freedom of speech and expression in India. I specifically focus on the introduction of the term ‘public order’ to the limits on the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution.

By reading crowds into the First Amendment debates, I explore how Indian legal doctrine in this area has been influenced by the specific social, political and technological context in which this discussion took place. This includes that of the history of violence during Partition, concerns around the stability and viability of the Indian nation, and the interaction between crowds and reading publics associated with print technology.