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Fostering Harmony: Supreme Court’s Stand Against Blatant Hate Speech

The Supreme Court emphasized the need for harmony and comity between communities, firmly rejecting blatant hate speech and its divisive impact.

New Delhi, 11 August,(City Times): The Supreme Court has taken a significant step by directing the Centre to establish a committee dedicated to addressing hate speech incidents across the nation. The court’s decision follows a petition filed by journalist Shaheen Abdullah, seeking action against “blatant hate speeches” that incite violence and discrimination against specific communities.

Urgent Need for Harmony and Respect

Highlighting the importance of harmony and unity among communities, the bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti emphasized the need to prevent hate speech that disrupts social cohesion. The court firmly asserted that hate speech is unacceptable and detrimental to the fabric of society, emphasizing that all communities share the responsibility to maintain peace.

Centre’s Call to Action

The court instructed Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, representing the Centre, to provide a response regarding the formation of the committee by August 18. This move signifies the court’s commitment to addressing hate speech issues promptly and effectively. The Centre’s active involvement is crucial to ensure a comprehensive approach towards curbing hate speech incidents.

Collating Evidence for Accountability

In a bid to streamline the process of addressing hate speech, the court directed the petitioner to gather all relevant materials, including videos, and submit them to the nodal officers. This proactive measure aims to facilitate swift actions against those responsible for hate speech, enabling a more informed and efficient investigation.

Prioritizing Peaceful Coexistence

The court’s directive underscores its commitment to safeguarding social harmony and preventing the propagation of hate speech. By advocating for the prevention of hate speeches and physical violence against any community, the court reaffirms its dedication to maintaining a peaceful and inclusive societal environment.

Addressing Recent Unrest

The call for action comes in the wake of communal clashes in Haryana, where tensions escalated to violence resulting in casualties. The court’s move to address hate speech is a proactive step towards preventing further unrest and ensuring the safety and security of all communities.

Subhead 7: Collective Responsibility for Progress

The Supreme Court’s order to establish a committee highlights the collective responsibility of both government bodies and citizens to curb hate speech. As the court advocates for unity and tolerance, it sets a precedent for a nation that values peaceful coexistence and upholds the dignity and rights of all its citizens.

Some significant cases related to hate speech that the Supreme Court of India has dealt with are as follows:

1995: In the Prabhakaran v. State of Tamil Nadu case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Tamil Nadu government’s ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) flag was justified due to the LTTE’s involvement in terrorist activities.

2002: In the Ramji Lal Modi v. State of UP case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.

2014: The Supreme Court, in the Shreya Singhal v. Union of India case, struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which criminalized online communication that was considered offensive or caused annoyance, stating it violated the right to freedom of speech.

2017: During the Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India legal proceedings, the Supreme Court issued instructions to the government to prevent the improper utilization of the National Anthem within movie theaters. Additionally, the court clarified that individuals are not obligated to stand when the National Anthem is played as an element of cinematic presentations.

2021: In the case of Amish Devgan v. Union of India, the Supreme Court quashed multiple FIRs against journalist Amish Devgan for alleged hate speech, highlighting the importance of freedom of speech while acknowledging that media personnel must exercise it responsibly.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and the Supreme Court has dealt with various other hate speech-related cases over the years.

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