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Laws Against Hate Speech In India

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

Written by: Saumya Shukla

Today we hear twitter suspending accounts of big personalities like Kangana Ranaut and Donald Trump. The permanent suspension of the account of Kangana Ranaut was due to, posting her tweets on Bengal violence seemed to call for violence. It was noted that Twitter also suspended the account of Donald Trump for his tweets when rioting took place in the US capital.

As well, Facebook in its latest statement said that It has banned the account of a former US president account for two years due to his comments that aimed at inciting violence in the Us capitol

But when we come to the essence of it, the topic that stands is “ Hate Speech”.

Hate Speech as defined by Black Law’s Dictionary means “speech that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, such as a particular race, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence”

According to the case of Ramesh.S/O Chotalal Dalal vs Union Of India & Ors, it is said that to understand whether a speech is hate speech or not, it is important to judge it from a strong-minded, reasonable person and courageous man, not from those minds that get hostile in every situation.

Hate Speech and Freedom of Speech

The right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech is one of the most basic freedoms of the people of the country to enjoy. The basic idea was that there are differences of opinion about the new issue. The right to freedom of expression is, in essence, is guided by the views expressed by the people, to have a conversation that's uncomfortable, or casual, and is also protected by the State.

The application of the doctrine of the freedom of speech is more than the state's power to regulate speech. A review of the current international law concerning hate speech, that freedom of expression is quick, fast, as a treatment for their freedom, against discrimination, and abuse of the people in each community.

Our constitution guarantees us the right to freedom of speech under article 19, which states that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression. But this right comes with some restrictions. Many critics do argue that not giving freedom of speech may take away the liberty of many but when there is hate speech given in place of free speech it takes away the liberty of others.

The law commission of India in its report stated “Liberty and equality are complementary and not antithetical to each other. The intent of freedom of speech is not to disregard the weaker sections of society but to give them an equal voice. Similarly, the intent of equality is not to suppress this liberty but to balance it with the necessities of a multicultural and plural world, provided such constraint does not unduly infringe on the freedom of expression. Thus, incitement to not only violence but also to discrimination has been recognized as a ground for interfering with freedom of expression.”

Laws Regulating Hate Speech

There are enough legal provisions that bear in the constitution on the name of Hate Speech.

Giving provocation intentionally to cause riots

Section 153A and Section 153B of the Indian Penal Code 1860 says that any action will be a punishable offense if it is done to incite disharmony or hatred among a community, caste, or creed.

Injuring the place of religion in order to insult a religious class

Section 295 of Indian Penal Code penalizes any such act that causes damage, destruction or defiles a worship place or any sacred thing that may cause insult to that religion with the well-known intention that this would cause that religion a feeling of insult should be punishable with imprisonment, fine or both.

Uttering such words that may hurt the religious feeling of others

According to the section 298 of constitution, Uttering any word or any gesture that may wound someone's religious feeling,is a non cognizable as well as non bailable offence for which the punishment is imprisonment for an year ,fine or both.This article protects the religious feeling of a person may it be citizen or a non citizen.

Statements Conducting mischiefs-

Section 505 makes the making, publication, or dissemination of any statement as a criminal offense that is capable of causing not a member of any class or group of people, who, in a breach of any other class or category of persons, who are either encouraging or may encourage feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional group of castes and communities.

It's important feature of one section 153A and 505 (2), and that they should involve at least two groups or societies. A simple misuse of a sense of community or a group, without having to refer you to someone else in the community or the group will not be able to attract any of these two sections.

India and online hate speech

The social network has made new rules against hate spreading through them. Now, the government is able to do, and for the authorities to withdraw such a notice within the next 24 hours, all the details of the users, the steps that might be taken against it. Despite the fact that social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc, have taken the necessary measures to stop this by establishing some rules, however, it is still difficult to stop the hate speech, the numbers, the leadership of, what is, and to know that they will pass the hat, by their numbers, leading to rioting and damage to humanity.

The government has proposed a "code of conduct" for media agencies, such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook in order to stop the hatred against segments of the population. The act called on the Commission to draw up a draft law that would regulate the conversation on social networks, messaging apps, In September 2015, the Supreme Court struck down section 66 of the IT Act, as indicated by its ability to interfere with the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and the violation of the balance between the restrictions imposed and self-determination. It was said that all of the information posted on the Internet is generally not required, is not provoked, does not it should be made in writing, the written word is going to be completely pure in this part of the discussion, as of a particular point of view, and not against it. Section 66A of the IT, the Law has totally hated the thoughts of each, as provided in this section, now archived in the second part of IT, and the Sedition Act.

Home ministry has also formed a panel which is originally suggesting new regulation in IPC which will define hate speech and offence related to speech and expression. There is no definition in IPC of what defines hate Speech .The committee for reform in criminal laws is attempting to define such speech.

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