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Hate Speeches Can't Be Permitted In The Name Of Freedom Of Speech: Madras HC Rejects Tamil Activist Thirumurugan Gandhi's Plea [Read Order]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
9 July 2019 4:30 PM GMT
Hate Speeches Cant Be Permitted In The Name Of Freedom Of Speech: Madras HC Rejects Tamil Activist Thirumurugan Gandhis Plea [Read Order]
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"Any speech which disrespects another citizen on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community, is forbidden."

While dismissing a petition filed by G. Thirumurugan Gandhi accused of making vitriolic speeches, the Madras High Court observed that the Constitution of India does not permit hate speech in the name of freedom of speech and expression.Thirumurugan Gandhi is a Tamil Activist and founder of the May 17 Movement. The court was considering his petitions filed seeking to quash hate speech...

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While dismissing a petition filed by G. Thirumurugan Gandhi accused of making vitriolic speeches, the Madras High Court observed that the Constitution of India does not permit hate speech in the name of freedom of speech and expression.

Thirumurugan Gandhi is a Tamil Activist and founder of the May 17 Movement. The court was considering his petitions filed seeking to quash hate speech cases.

Any speech which disrespects another citizen on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community, is forbidden and becomes punishable under Indian Penal Code and various other laws, said Justice N. Anand Venkatesh.

The judge said that the responsibility attached to free speech should not be forgotten. Referring to reports, the court said the speeches made by the accused are 'pregnant with hate spewed against a particular community which is attacked in a vituperative, opprobrious and slanderous manner.' The Court also noted that he has been attempting to portray as if Tamil Nadu does not belong to India and that every organ is attempting to destroy this State and has also used choicest of words against the High Court and Supreme Court. The court said:

"Any leader or a speaker who takes to public platform or expresses through a social media, must bear it in mind that the Constitution of India does not permit hate speech in the name of freedom of speech and expression. Hate speeches create discord amongst the various ethnic and religious communities."

.. Spewing venom against a particular community is not going to help the down trodden come up in the Society and become a part of the main stream. On the other hand, it will only sow the seeds of hatred among communities. People want to progress and come up in life and certainly the speeches made by the petitioner will not in any way contribute towards the same."

Explaining the difference between free speech and hate speech, the judge further observed:

"It is true that free speech is the foundation of a democratic Society. A free exchange of ideas, dissemination of information, without restraints, dissemination of knowledge, airing of different view points, debating and forming one's own views and expressing them, are the basic ideas of a free Society. This freedom alone makes it possible for people to formulate their own views and opinions on a proper basis and to exercise their social, economic and political rights in a free society in an informed manner. Restraints on this right have been jealously watched by Courts. However, Constitution itself prescribes for restrictions of the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(2). It enables the legislature to impose restrictions upon the freedom of speech and expression on eight grounds. Some of the important grounds are sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, decency and incitement to an offence."

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