Toxic Climate on Hate Speech: The Supreme Court

Hate speech should stop. The atmosphere of the country is being poisoned by the intense hate speech directed at minorities. This is the observation of the Supreme Court on the last 10th given a public interest case. In another case, the apex court has asked the Uttarakhand and Delhi governments what action they have taken in the wake of provocative speeches in the Dharma Sangsad. BJP MLA Nandkishore Gurjar was accused of making inflammatory speeches during the Delhi violence. He claimed that his statement was ‘misinterpreted’.

H Mansukhani filed a hate speech case in a bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justice SR Bhatt. In hearing that case, the court ordered the plaintiff to report specific incidents of hate speech. Like the Supreme Court in the wake of the petition on hate speech targeting minorities, the petitioner may have rightly said that the kind of discussion going on in public life is poisoning the entire environment and needs to end. The bench opined, “Even as a citizen you may rightly say through such a petition that the whole environment is being poisoned by such hate speech and you (petitioner) may with good reason demand that the hate speech be stopped.”

The claim of the petitioner

Supreme Court
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During the hearing, the petitioner, while raising the issue of hate speech targeting minority communities, said, “Nowadays hate speech has become a ‘profitable business.” Referring to the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’, he said, “Hate speech is an arrow that once shot cannot be returned.” The court, however, advised the petitioner to focus on the two incidents, saying, “This petition is very fragmented. There are 58 hate speech cases. But we don’t know the details of the specific crime, the stage of the investigation, who is involved, nothing.”

The court granted additional time to the petitioner in this case. The applicant has to submit the report in the form of an affidavit to the apex court with information about the specific incident by October 31. The next hearing of the case is on November 1.

Questioning of state governments

In another case, a bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohali sought the response of the Delhi and Uttarakhand governments in a case filed by social activist Tushar Gandhi. The petitioner said in the petition, that a case should be initiated against the high-ranking police officers by alleging inaction during the hate speech. The apex court said that they are not taking any action in line with the contempt case right now. The Supreme Court has asked what action has been taken against those who gave provocative hate speech in the Dharma Sangsad held last year. 

BJP MLA Nandkishore is accused of hate speech. He was accused of giving inciting speeches during the 2020 Northeast Delhi violence. However, he denied the allegations and said, “What do I have to do with the Delhi riots? I did not go to Delhi. In the event being talked about, I said, I was ready with 25,000 people in Loni, so nothing happened here like the Delhi riots.”