Supreme Court asks Centre to form committee to look into hate speech cases

NEW DELHI : Observing that there has to be harmony and comity between communities, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to constitute a committee to look into the cases of hate speech.

The top court was hearing a plea over alleged “blatant hate speeches” calling for killing Muslims and their social and economic boycott at rallies in different states, including Haryana where recent communal clashes claimed six lives.

The plea filed on August 8, said that more than 27 rallies have been organised across various States where blatant hate speeches calling for the “killing and social & economic boycott of Muslims” have been openly delivered.

The plea also referred to other “open calls for violence and boycott of Muslims” given by VHP leader Kapil Swami in the presence of police officials in Madhya Pradesh’s Saugor on August 8.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti asked Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for the Centre, to seek instructions and inform it about the committee by August 18, reports PTI.

“There has to be harmony and comity between the communities. All the communities are responsible. The problem of hate speech is not good and nobody can accept it,” the bench observed.

The top court also directed the petitioner to collate all the material, including video and submit to the nodal officers appointed in pursuance to its October 21, 2022 judgement.

The application, filed by journalist Shaheen Abdullah, has referred to the August 2 order of the apex court which said, “We hope and trust that the state governments and police will ensure that no hate speeches irrespective of the identity are made against any community and there is no physical violence or damage to the properties.”

Observing that hate speeches vitiate the atmosphere, the top court had said that wherever required, adequate police force or paramilitary force would be deployed and the authorities, including the police, will use CCTV cameras installed or record/make video recording in all sensitive areas. ( With PTI inputs )

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