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Hate Speech : Supreme Court Seeks Centre's Response On Plea To Implement Law Commission Recommendations

Mehal Jain
22 April 2022 11:22 AM GMT
Hate Speech : Supreme Court Seeks Centres Response On Plea To Implement Law Commission Recommendations
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The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre's response to a petition seekings directions to regulate hate speech. The petition seeks directions to Centre to examine the international laws relating to 'Hate Speech' and 'Rumor Mongering' and take apposite effective stringent steps to control the same particularly amid elections, and to advise the concerned authorities to file...

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre's response to a petition seekings directions to regulate hate speech.

The petition seeks directions to Centre to examine the international laws relating to 'Hate Speech' and 'Rumor Mongering' and take apposite effective stringent steps to control the same particularly amid elections, and to advise the concerned authorities to file appropriate response.

The bench headed by Justice A. M. Khanwilkar was hearing a plea filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay that also sought for alternatively, directing the Centre to take apposite steps to implement recommendations of Law Commission Report-267 on Hate Speech which suggested adding new provisions in the Indian Penal Code to prohibte incitement to hatred and provocation of violence. The petitioner had referred to the Top Court's judgement in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan [AIR 2014 SC 1591] to argue that in case of inaction on part of the Executive for whatsoever reason, the Court has always stepped in to discharge its constitutional obligation to enforce the law. "In case of a vacuum of legal regime, to deal with a particular situation, the Court may issue guidelines to provide a solution till such time as the legislature acts to perform its role by enacting proper legislation," the petition stated in this regards. Relief for directing and declaring that Sentence for committing the Offences Against Public Tranquility, Offences Relating to Elections, Offences Relating to Religion and Offences relating to Criminal Intimidation, Insult and Annoyance shall be Consecutive, not Concurrent was also sought.

On Friday, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, for the petitioner, told the bench, "In Pravasi Bhalai Sanghatan, Your lordships noticed and recorded the Law Commission considering hate speech as a ground for disqualifying people from the electoral fray. Thereafter, in 2017, the law commission submitted a very elaborate report which is part of the petition. Then in Amish Devgan's case (2020), your lordships noted the Law commission report and said that till today the government still has not taken a stand whether they want to insert the sections in the IPC and also whether the Representation of People's Act also needs suitable amendment in view of hate speech becoming the order of the day whenever elections are around..."

SG Tushar Mehta, who was present in court, told the bench that a copy of the petition may be shared with him and that he would look into it, and that the bench may consider not issuing notice.

The bench then proceeded to dictate the following order- "The solicitor general undertakes to examine the relief claimed in this petition W. P. (C) 943 of 2021 and advise the concerned authorities to file appropriate response before the next date of hearing. List on May 13, 2022"

Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India and Ors.
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