The Law Commission of India (LCI) in its 267th Report has laid out that bare the danger of hate speech to the Union Government and called for action from the government and Parliament.
It held that hate speech has the potential to provoke individuals and society to commit acts of genocides, terrorism and ethnic cleansing.
The Supreme Court of India in 2014 had referred to the Law Commission for means to arm the Election Commission to crack down on hate speech.
- In its report, the commission has cautioned the government that hate speech is considered outside the realm of protective discourse and has urged for the expansion of the penal law against hate crimes.
- It held that indisputably, offensive hate speech has real and devastating effects on people’s lives and risks their health and safety.
- It is also harmful and divisive for communities and hampers social progress. If left unchecked, it can severely affect right to life of every individual.
Law against Hate Speech
- The commission also has drafted a new law The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by inserting new Sections to fortify democracy against hate speeches.
- The law defined hate speech as any word written or spoken, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause fear or alarm, or incitement to violence.
- Its Section 153C penalises incitement to hatred and Section 505A for the first time makes ‘causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases’ a specific criminal offence.
- Section 153C calls for punishing guilty person with two years’ imprisonment or Rs. 5,000 in fine or both. Section 505A provides a punishment of one year imprisonment or Rs. 5,000 in fine or both.