Hate Speech

Hate Speech

Hate Speech

#GS-01 Communalism, #GS-02 Governance, #GS-04 Ethics

For Prelims

Hate Speech

  • Supreme Court in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union of India (2014), defined hate speech as “an effort to marginalize individuals based on their membership in a group which seeks to delegitimize group members in the eyes of the majority, reducing their social standing and acceptance within society.”
  • The 267th Report of the Law Commission of India, declared hate speech as an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief and the like.
  • However, as of now there is no specific legal definition of ‘hate speech’.

Legal Provisions

  • Under sections 153A and 153B of the IPC, acts that promote animosity and hostility between two communities are punishable.
  • Under Section 295A of the IPC, acts that deliberately or maliciously insult the religious sensibilities of a group of people are punishable.
  • Publishing or circulating anything that may incite animosity or hostility amongst various communities is punishable under Sections 505(1) and 505(2) of IPC.
  • A person convicted of illegally exercising their right to freedom of speech is prohibited from contesting an election under Section 8 of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951 (RPA).
  • promotion of hatred based on race, religion, community, caste, or language in connection with elections is prohibited and classified as a kind of corrupt electoral conduct under Sections 123(3A) and 125 of the RPA.


For Mains

Changes proposed

  • Viswanathan Committee proposed amending the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by adding Sections 153 C (b) and 505 A, to make special provisions regarding incitement to commit an offence on the basis of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, domicile, language, disability, or tribe.
  • The Bezbaruah Committee proposed amending Section 153 C of the IPC to punish promoting or attempting to promote acts prejudicial to human dignity and make it punishable by five years in prison and a fine or both, and Section 509 A of the IPC to punish using words, gestures, or acts to insult members of a particular race, and make it punishable by three years in prison and a fine or both.

Source “The buck stops with govt. to end hate speech: SC

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