HATE SPEECH- Today Current Affairs

GS-2 Freedom of speech & expression

Recently the supreme court agreed to hear a petition asking for legal action to be taken against the organizer of the Haridwar Dharm sansad held in Uttarakhand, where calls to violence were made against other communities. The rising frequency of hate speech combined with lack of legal or social consensus around what constitutes”hate speech”has provided an opportunity to make legislative reforms.

What is hate speech: The Hindu Analysis

    • There is no legal definition of hate speech in the Indian legal framework owing to the ambiguity surrounding it.
    • Supreme court ine Pravasi bhalai sangathan versus union of India 2014, describe hate speech as “an effort to marginalise individuals based on their membership in a group”and one that seeks to delegitimize group members in the eyes of the majority, reducing the social standing and acceptance within society.
    • Further hate speech is a speech that target people based on their identity and cause for violence or discrimination against people cause of their identity.
    • Speech made for the direct call to violence – such as taking up arms and killing Muslims aur statements made by persons with influence having the likelihood to breach peace, cannot be protected under the right to free speech.
    • It must be noted that no society can survive for long when incitement to violence is normalised, and enjoys legal impunity.
    • Hate speech create a environment that strength the existing prejudice and deepens extant discrimination. 


  • The legal provision in India is ineffective and deficient to deal with the challenges of hate speech.
  • The commonly invoked laws in such a situation are section 295A(Blasphemy) and section 153A of the IPC however the hate speech is neither Blasphemy nor enmity between the classes.
  • Hate speech is never direct; rather the statements are worded with the right degree of ambiguity, which can easily be denied later, indirect speech of this kind is known as a “dog-whistle”.
  • Dog whistle enables escape the legal scrutiny as had been in the Haridwar case digital and social media has become a platform for further propagation of hate speech.


  • In campaign against hate speech vs the state of Karnataka the high court held that the IPC illegalise speech that are intended to promote enmity for prejudice is the maintenance of harmony between different classes.
  • The supreme court in Pravasi bhalai sangathan, underlined the impact hate speech can have on the target groups ability to respond and how it can be a stimulus to further attacks.
  • Section 153C was drafted to cover an offence committed when any person uses threatening words which are intended to cause fear or commends hatred for the purpose of inducing violence through words, spoken aur return visible representation of sign on the ground of race caste religion sex gender identity and other characteristics.
  • Section 505A should include provision penalising causing of fear alarm or provocation of violence.
  • There is a need to have a specialised legislation that will govern hate speech propagated by the internet especially social media.
  • Australian federal law can be a guiding reference where internet service providers are accountable for providing offensive material.
  • Amendment is required in Indian penal code and information technology act.


  • Hate speech should be recognised as a reasonable restriction to free speech, then only fissiparous communal and separatist tendencies can be checked. It is important to secure fraternity so as to ensure the dignity of the individuals and the unity of the nation.

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plutus ias daily current affairs 19 january 2022

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