‘We are apolitical’: SC directs states to register cases against all making hate speeches

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed all states and Union Territories (UTs) to register cases against those making hate speeches even if no complaint has been made, while stressing that both judges on the bench are apolitical and “they do not care about party A or party B or party C”.

The bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna termed hate speech a serious offence capable of affecting secular fabric of the country and added that the court had passed the order last year with public good in mind for suo motu action against hate speech.

“This is something which goes to the heart of our republic…about dignity of people….”, said Justice Joseph.

During the hearing, the bench made it crystal clear that both judges are apolitical and they do not care about party A or party B, or party C, “we only know the Constitution and the laws of the country… let us be very clear about it… whatever order we pass, it is allegiance to the oath we have taken”.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said there is no dispute about it and also there is no doubt about it.

When counsel cited instances of hate speeches in various parts of the country,the bench orally observed: “Don’t bring in politics. If the attempt is to bring in politics, we won’t be a party to this…we said in our order, irrespective of religion (action should be taken), what more do you want…”.

The bench warned that any delay in registering cases will be treated as contempt of the court and emphasized that its October 21, 2022 order shall be made applicable irrespective of religion.

It said it is entertaining petitions against hate speeches in different parts of the country for “larger public good” and to ensure establishment of “rule of law”.

Advocate Nizam Pasha, counsel for the petitioner, said the court ordered the police to take suo motu action and if police are not acting, it will be contempt. Mehta said let all states be joined in the matter.

The bench said respondents shall ensure immediately when any speech or any action takes place which attracts offences under various sections of the IPC, without any complaint being filed suo moto action can be taken to register cases.

It said that such action be taken irrespective of the religion of the maker of the speech, so that the secular character of the country as envisaged by the Preamble is preserved.

Last year, the apex court had directed Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Uttarakhand to crack down hard on those making hate speeches, calling them shocking for a country and also warned that any delay in taking action on this “very serious issue” will invite the court’s contempt.

The top court was hearing a batch of pleas in connection with hate speech. One of the petitioners had initially sought direction against Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to register cases against those delivering hate speeches.


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