Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Hate speeches sullying country’s atmosphere: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday said hate speeches are sullying the country’s atmosphere and need to be curbed. The top court told this a PIL petitioner who raised the issue of “governmental inaction” over “hate speeches.”

The remarks came from Chief Justice of India U U Lalit while hearing the plea alleging that hate speeches were being made against the minority community “to win the majority Hindu votes, to grab power at all posts, to commit genocide and make India a Hindu Rashtra before 2024 elections” and that several crimes were committed on this account.

Presiding over a two-judge bench also comprising Justice S Ravindra Bhat, the CJI , however, said that the plea lacked specifics or detailed information and had only “vague” assertions.

“We don’t even know what are the details of those particular crimes, what is the status, what is your say, who are the persons involved, whether any crime was registered, not registered, etc. You may be right, perhaps, in saying that the entire atmosphere is being sullied as a result of hate speeches. Perhaps you have every justifiable grounds to say that this needs to be curbed, but this kind of ominous petition under Article 32 cannot be.”

CJI Lalit also wondered if petitioner would need assistance of an amicus curiae.

Petitioner Harpreet Mansukhani told the Bench that “hate speech has been turned into a profitable business”. Mansukhani claimed she had proof that a political party had funded Hindi movie ‘The Kashmir Files’, depicting the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits that has been accused of fanning the anti-Muslim hatred.

She maintained it was too late to stop such incidents and that directions from the court were necessary. “Every time a hate speech is given,” she said, “it is like an arrow which never returns”.

Stating that a court of law needs factual background if it has to take cognisance, the Bench asked for some “immediate instances” to which the petitioner said she will be file an affidavit laying out specific instances.

The court will hear the PIL on November 1.

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