Law Commission Suggests New Penal Sections To Curb Hate Speech [Read Report]

Law Commission of India has submitted it’s 267th report on ‘hate speech’ for the consideration of the Government. The Commission has suggested the incorporation of two new Sections in the Indian Penal Code.

Supreme Court of India in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan Vs Union of India directed the Law Commission of India to look into issue of hate speeches being made by politicians and to consider framing guidelines to prevent such provocative statements. 

The Commission opined that the hate speech generally is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief and the like (sections 153A, 295A read with section 298 IPC). Thus, hate speech is any word written or spoken, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause fear or alarm, or incitement to violence.

The Law Commission suggested that new provisions in IPC are required to be incorporated to address the issues elaborately dealt with in the preceding paragraphs.

“Keeping the necessity of amending the penal law, a draft amendment bill, namely, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 suggesting insertion of new section 153C (Prohibiting incitement to hatred) and section 505A (Causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases) is annexed as Annexure-A for consideration of the Government”. 

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS IN IPC

CHAPTER II

AMENDMENTS TO THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

  1. Insertion of new section after section153B.- 

In the Indian Penal Code, (45 of 1860) (hereinafter referred to as the Penal Code), after section 153B , the following section shall be inserted, namely:-

Prohibiting incitement to hatred- “153 C. Whoever on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe –

(a) uses gravely threatening words either spoken or written, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause, fear or alarm; or

(b) advocates hatred by words either spoken or written, signs, visible representations, that causes incitement to violence shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and fine up to Rs 5000, or with both.”.

  1. Insertion of new section after section 505.-

In the Penal Code, after section 505, the following section shall be inserted, namely:- Causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases.

“505 A. Whoever in public intentionally on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe –

uses words, or displays any writing, sign, or other visible representation which is gravely threatening, or derogatory;

(i) within the hearing or sight of a person, causing fear or alarm, or;

(ii) with the intent to provoke the use of unlawful violence, against that person or another, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and/or fine up to Rs 5000, or both”.

Read the report here.

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