Author: Rishant Solanki, I year of B.B.A.,LL.B. from The NorthCap University
Any form of expression through which the speaker has intention to defame, humiliate, or show hatred against a particular person or a group based on religion, skin color, gender identity, or nationality is called Hate speech.
IS HATE SPEECH FREE SPEECH IN INDIA?
Latestly, Yati Narsighnanad (Deepak Tyagi), a Hindu priest got arrested by Uttarakhand police on January 15, in two separate cases which include Haridwar hate speech in which his speech roar for annihilation against Muslims, and the second one is for his defaming remarks against women.
The people in our society believes in stereotypes and these stereotypes made people to believe that another individual who belongs to different cast, class, religion, sex is inferior to them and do not enjoy the same amount of respect and dignity as them the obstinate to adhere to a particular believe without carrying for the sentiments rights faith of others to co-exist peacefully make the hate speech more derogatory.
PROVISIONS OF HATE SPEECH IN INDIA
The constitution of our country has provided us freedom of speech and expression under article 19(1)(a) as a fundamental right but this right is not absolute some limitations are inflicted by article 19(2) this is also understandable that claim to free speech ends where hate speech begins.
Under Indian penal code section such as 153A ,153B ,295A,505(1), and 505(2) are concerned with hate speech. Under the Representation of People act 1951 (RPA) section 8 states: prevents a person convicted of the illegal use of the freedom of speech from contesting an election. Section 123(3A) and 125 are also about hate speech in reference to elections and electoral practices.
COMMITTEE SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGES IN IPC
According to Bezbaruah Committee 2014,an amendment to section 153 C and 509 A of IPC which is punishable by five years and fine or both and punishable by three years or fine or both respectively. Another committee instituted in 2019 under T.K. Viswanathan had recommended inserting section 153 C(b) and section 505 A in the IPC for urging to commit an offence on the grounds of caste, race, gender, place of birth, language, religion, community. It proposed punishment of up to two years along with rupees 5,000 fine.
GRAVE CONSEQUENCES OF HATE SPEECH
Hate speech can harm individual communities and societies. The targets of hate speech often experience negative emotional, physical, and mental upshot. This can include low self-worth, anxiety, fear for their lives, harms to dignity, and suicide. Hate speech has resulted in cyber bulling which often attacks minority population based on religion.Several instances of online disinformation are leading centered around social struggles around race and ethnicity, deepening these social rifts through use of hate speech. It causes mob lynching and honor killing. Presence of these kind of activities in a country is a serious challenge to its Democratic character. It can damage the image of a country at the International forum.
ROLE PLAYED BY THE SUPREME COURT
The apex court of our country has given pivotal judgements in various fields also in hate speech areas, in the latest judgmentsupreme court held that, historical truth just be depicted without in any way encouraging Hatred between different communities. In Shery Singhal v. union of India: Concerns were raised about section 66A of the information act ,2000 relating to the fundamental right of free and expression where the court differentiate between discussion advocacy, insighting and held that first two were essence of article 19(1).
S. Rangarajan Etc.V/S P. Jagjivan Ram: In this case the supreme court verdict that freedom of expression cannot be censored unless the situation so created is menacing to the public interest.
The existence of hate speech is not a new fact by any stretch of imagination butwith theoccurrence of multiple platforms,for instance social media, where anyone can deliver hate speech without any fear and hesitation.Good amount of hate has been perpetuated through platform like Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Instagram. One of the prominent instances is persecution of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar military junta. The calls for violence against Rohingya on Facebookand the brass-necked killings in Myanmar have led bare the connection between two as investigated by multiple journalists.
Hate speech is often delivered against marginalist classes and the people who are already a minority section due to there race, language, religion. The most effective way to dilute hatred is by the means of education it has a prominent role in promoting, understandingand sympathizing with others. Fight against hate speech cannot be done in isolation it needs wider platform such as United nation where it should be discussed, and the necessary steps should be taken. All the responsible government, regional bodies and other agencies should take hate speech as a matter of concern and threat to the unity and integrity of a country. Alternative mechanisms or department should be established to tackle and prevent the fire of hate speech.