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- Haridwar Dharam Sansad Hate Speech, Accused arrested, what is Hate Speech?
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Why in the news?
Haridwar Dharam Sansad Hate Speech
What is hate speech?
- It refers to comments that are intended to incite hatred toward a specific group, which could be a community, religion, or race. This speech may or may not be meaningful, but it will almost certainly lead to bloodshed.
- Hate speech is defined as language that denigrates, degrades, threatens, or targets an individual based on their identity or other characteristics, according to a guidebook released by the Bureau of Police Research and Development for investigating agencies on cyber harassment cases (such as sexual orientation or disability or religion etc.).
- Hate speech is defined as an incitement to hatred directed principally against a group of people based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, or other factors, according to India’s Law Commission’s 267th Report.
- The context of a communication plays an essential role in determining whether it is a hate speech or not.
Indian Constitution and hate speech:
- Freedom of Speech and Expression: Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution protects it as a fundamental right, stating that “all citizens shall enjoy the right to freedom of speech and expression.”
- Article 19(2): The Indian constitution imposes a reasonable restriction, with the word reasonable implying a balance between the use and misuse of this right.
Causes of hate speech in India:
- Superiority complex: When a person develops a sense of superiority over others, he or she begins to dominate others, whether they be individuals, organisations, or communities.
- Stubborn conduct toward a certain ideology: When a person, group, or community begins to exhibit stubborn behaviour toward a particular ideology. When people refuse to listen to the other person’s views, thoughts, or perceptions, it leads to the rise of hate speech in India because people lose patience and want to reign over the other person, which leads to hatred.
- Negative stereotypes: People who are negative stereotypes enable us to believe that another person is less deserving and inferior, resulting in hate speech. Negative stereotypes occur as a result of oppressive systems – discriminatory frameworks, for example.
Impacts of hate speech:
- Violation of human rights
- Atrocity crime
- The spread of violent extremism
- Gender-based violence
- Communal Violence
- Polarization of communities and sections of society
- Threat to the protection of civilians, minorities, refugees, women, and children
- Ease the fight against all forms of racism and discrimination
- Erosion of democratic values
- Mobocracy and mob lynching
- Deteriorate peace, growth, and development
Legal provisions governing a hate speech:
- India Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC):
- The promotion of enmity between groups of people on grounds such as religion and race, place of birth, residence language, and acts that are prejudicial to maintaining harmony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which imposes a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine in such cases.
- Section 298 of the Indian Penal Code makes it illegal to say something that offends someone’s religious sensibilities.
- It is prohibited to print or transmit certain remarks, rumours, or reports if the intention or impact of the statement is to cause harm or disturb public order, according to Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code.
- Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code analyses and punishes sedition, stating that if any written or spoken words inspire hatred or contempt, disaffection against the lawful government is accused.
- Sections 95 and 96 of the CrPC give the state government the authority to order the confiscation of any book, newspaper, or document.
- Election laws and hate speech:
- The Representation of People Act (RPA), 1951, has a section 123 that deals with corrupt electoral parties.
- Section 123 defines a corrupt electoral practise as a call to vote or refrain from voting on the basis of one’s religion, race, caste, community, or language, or an appeal to religious or national symbols to influence an election (3).
- Prevention of Atrocities Act and hate speech:
- Speech directed by any person who himself is not a member of SC or ST community towards the SC or/ and ST community to demean them and hurt them are prevented from occurrence under the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.
- Media law and hate speech:
- The Cinematograph Act of 1952 regulates film exhibition by enacting a number of regulations that provide the government the authority to take action against film display.
- The Cinematograph Act of 1952, Section 7, contains a number of laws that authorise the Board of Film Certification to prohibit and control film screenings. The fourth section discusses the film’s examination.
Suggestion for Changes in IPC:
- Viswanathan Committee 2019:
- It proposed amending the IPC to include Sections 153 C (b) and 505 A for incitement to commit an offence on the basis of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability, or tribe.
- It proposed a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of Rs. 5,000.
- Bezbaruah Committee 2014:
- It proposed amending Indian Penal Code Sections 153 C (promoting or attempting to promote acts prejudicial to human dignity), which is punishable by five years in prison and a fine or both, and Section 509 A (insulting members of a particular race with words, gestures, or acts), which is punishable by three years in prison and a fine or both.
Some Cases Related to Hate Speech:
- SC’ s Recent Judgement:The Supreme Court (SC) recently declared that “historical truths must be depicted without in any way revealing or inciting hostility or enmity between various classes or communities” in the context of debating the boundaries of free speech and what may be considered hate speech.
- Shreya Singhal v. Union of India:There were concerns raised about Section 66A of the Information Technology Act of 2000, which dealt with the fundamental right to free speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, in which the Supreme Court distinguished between discussion, advocacy, and incitement, concluding that the first two were the essence of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution (1).
- Arup Bhuyanvs State of Assam: The Court decided that a single act could not be punished unless the perpetrator used violence or incited others to use violence.
- RangarajanEtcvs P. Jagjivan Ram: The Court decided in this decision that freedom of expression cannot be suppressed unless the situation created is dangerous to the community/public interest, and that this risk must not be remote, speculative, or improbable. With the expression in question, there should be a close and direct link.
- Education is the most effective technique of reducing animosity. Our educational system has a significant role in creating and comprehending compassion for others.
- The fight against hate speech cannot be conducted in isolation. It should be considered on a larger scale, such as in the UN. This threat should be addressed by all responsible governments, regional organisations, and other international and regional actors.
- Hate speech cases can be dealt with through Alternative Dispute Resolution, which promotes a move away from the lengthy judicial procedures and toward the settlement of disputes between parties by negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and/or conciliation.
- Public authorities must also be held accountable for failing to fulfil their duty of care and for failing to comply with this court’s orders by failing to take action to prevent vigilante groups from inciting communal strife and spreading hate against citizens of the country, as well as taking the law into their own hands.
Mains oriented question:
What is hate speech? List the suggestions of the TK Vishwanathan committee for dealing with hate speech on the internet. (200 words)