Hate Speech | Supreme Court Issues Notice To Gujarat, Kerala, TN & Nagaland To Ascertain If Nodal Officers Appointed

Update: 2023-11-29 14:15 GMT
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While hearing a batch of petitions to curb hate speeches, the Supreme Court issued notice to the States of Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Nagaland to determine if they have appointed nodal officers in terms of the 2018 judgment in the Tehseen Poonawalla case to deal with hate crimes and mob violence.The Court issued notice to these States after the Union Government informed that they have...

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While hearing a batch of petitions to curb hate speeches, the Supreme Court issued notice to the States of Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Nagaland to determine if they have appointed nodal officers in terms of the 2018 judgment in the Tehseen Poonawalla case to deal with hate crimes and mob violence.

The Court issued notice to these States after the Union Government informed that they have not responded to the Union's letter regarding the compliance with Tehseen Poonawalla judgment. Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj told a bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti that pursuant to an earlier direction of the Court, the Union has filed a status report collating information from the States. As per the status report, 28 States/Union Territories have appointed nodal officers in terms of the 2018 judgment. The States of West Bengal, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Nagaland have not responded to the Union's letter and hence there is no clarity regarding their compliance, the ASG said.

At this juncture, the standing counsel for the State of West Bengal orally told the bench that West Bengal has complied with the judgment. Taking note of this, the bench decided to issue notice to the notified standing counsels of the other four states. Affidavit in this regard should be filed by the respective States within four weeks from today. Details and particulars of the Nodal Officers should be stated.

The matter will be considered next on February 5, 2024.

As per the Centre's status report, the States which informed that they have appointed nodal officers are : Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, UT of Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

During the hearing, the bench said that it will not deal with individual cases of violations and that its focus will be to lay down a broad machinery to deal with hate crimes.

Directions in Tehseen Poonawalla

In Tehseen Poonawalla, the Court directed that State Governments shall designate, a senior police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, as Nodal Officer in each district. Such Nodal Officer shall be assisted by one of the DSP rank officers in the district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching. They shall constitute a special task force so as to procure intelligence reports about the people who are likely to commit such crimes or who are involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news.

The Nodal Officer, so designated, shall hold regular meetings (at least once a month) with the local intelligence units in the district along with all Station House Officers of the district so as to identify the existence of the tendencies of vigilantism, mob violence or lynching in the district and take steps to prohibit instances of dissemination of offensive material through different social media platforms or any other means for inciting such tendencies. The Nodal Officer shall also make efforts to eradicate hostile environment against any community or caste which is targeted in such incidents.

The Nodal Officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence related issues at the State level.

Also from the hearing : 'Won't Deal With Individual Cases' : Supreme Court Refuses To Consider Plea Against Udhayanidhi Stalin For 'Sanatana Dharma' Remarks

Case : Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India | W.P.(C) No. 943/2021 and connected cases

Click here to read the order

 

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