It is an inalienable right. The Constitution's role is not to grant it, but to protect citizens from any attempt by the state to infringe upon it
According to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, speaking at the London School of Economics recently, there is a need for debate on freedom of speech in India. He is correct, but not in the manner he intended. In the fracas ignited by the events at Ramjas College, leaders in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) like Jaitley, minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju and defence minister Manohar Parrikar have indicated that the Central government perceives freedom of speech as a right granted by the state. This is a monumental misrepresentation. The right to free speech and expression is inalienable. The Constitution’s role, therefore, is not to grant it, but to protect citizens from any attempt by the state to infringe upon it. If there is indeed to be a debate—and on the evidence of the past few days, one is sorely needed—it must be on why the political establishment and swathes of society mistake this fact.