Panel may seek more laws to curb hate speech

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NEW DELHI: In a first, the Law Commission is likely to recommend addition and expansion of certain sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to the law to effectively prosecute politicians for hate speeches that violate the Constitution and it will also strive to define what constitutes hate speech.

The Commission is likely to suggest to Modi government that two more sections in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) be added to deal with cases of hate speeches. It said that certain “deficiencies” in the existing two sections of IPC will be overcome.

There are nine sections in the IPC and a few under the Representation of People Act, 1951 which deal with offences which may constitute as a hate speech.

In 2014, the Supreme Court had directed the Law Commission to look into hate speeches being made by politicians and to consider framing guidelines to prevent such provocative statements while hearing a public interest litigation by an NGO, Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan.

The petitioner had urged the Court to issue directions to stop people from making inflammatory speeches and had contended that unrestrained comments made by politicians and religious leaders violate the Constitution.

The Commission is giving “final touches” to the report and is likely to submit its detailed findings on the issue next week to the government. It is also likely to underline the significance of “political will” and effective implementation of existing laws by the state machinery to deal with such cases.

Top sources privy to the development told ET that in the view of the Commission it would need to “expand” sections 153 and 505 of the IPC. The two sections deal with instances of those indulging in making provocative statements for their personal or political benefit.

the Law Commission, headed by retired Supreme Court Judge B S Chauhan, is likely to submit that the two aforesaid sections need to be “expanded” further to deal with cases of hate speech.

The PIL had named Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as respondents as the two states reported incidents of hate speech by politicians.

It had referred to the alleged hate speeches made by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackery and claimed that no FIR was registered against him in the state.

Likewise, in Andhra Pradesh all India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Akbaruddin Owaisi had alleged made hate speeches and was arrested. But after being released on bail, he had again made similar provocative speeches in Nanded, Maharashtra