A brief history of Free Speech in India excellently explained by Prakash Sharma
India used to have absolute Free Speech until 1927
In that year, a Muslim printed a pamphlet depicting Sita as a prostitute and distributed it in whole of Lahore.
Hindus didn’t outrage or burn anybody. Instead a Hindu published a book titled Rangila Rasool. Perfect response no, a book for a pamphlet?
A Muslim then in response killed the publisher of Rangila Rasool. The killer was proclaimed as Gazi of Islam by none other than Allama Iqbal, who wrote sare jahan se achha and who our historians call great Secular leader!
Muslims, citing these events pressured British to enact Hate Speech Law Section 295(A). This made it a criminal offence to insult the founders or leaders of any religious community. This is the law which is used to jail Kamlesh Tiwari and Kiku Sharda
Indian constitution made Free Speech a fundamental right, making 295A null and void(fundamental rights supersede all provisions in law)
Then Nehru in 1951 brought first amendment to the Indian constitution bringing constitutional restrictions to fundamental right of Free Speech. Nehru’s First Amendment includes vague generalities like ”public order”, ”decency or morality” on which restrictions on speech could be imposed. This restored the validity of 295A.
~ Prakash Sharma