Law Commission to define what constitutes hate speech: SC

Refusing to entertain a writ petition that seeks to remedy the concerns that have arisen because of “hate speeches” in the country, a Large Bench of the Supreme Court of India, however, referred to the Law Commission the issues pertaining to “hate speeches” delivered by politicians/religious leaders.

The Court specifically asked the Law Commission to examine as to what would constitute the term “hate speech” since there was no explicit definition of this term in any statute.

The Court said they can’t entertain a petition calling for issuing certain directions which are incapable of enforcement/execution and added, “the statutory provisions and particularly the penal law provide sufficient remedy to curb the menace of “hate speeches”. Thus, person aggrieved must resort to the remedy provided under a particular statute. The root of the problem is not the absence of laws but rather a lack of their effective execution. Therefore, the executive as well as civil society has to perform its role in enforcing the already existing legal regime. Effective regulation of “hate speeches” at all levels is required as the authors of such speeches can be booked under the existing penal law and all the law enforcing agencies must ensure that the existing law is not rendered a dead letter.”

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