When Leaders Stop using Religion in Politics, Hate Speech Will Terminate: Supreme Court

Rozana Spokesman

News, Nation

Orders are like bricks in the structure of legal rule: SC

Supreme Court

NEW-DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday took hate speech seriously and said that the moment politics and religion are separated and leaders stop using religion in politics, such speech will automatically come to an end. The court said that these utterings are being made by fringe elements and people should keep calm and restrain themselves from doing so.

A bench of justices KM Joseph and Judge BV Nagarathna referred to the speeches of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying that people used to gather from far-flung areas to listen to their speeches.

The bench wondered how many people the courts could initiate judicial defamation proceedings against and why the people of India could not restrain from insulting other citizens or communities. The bench, while hearing an appeal against various state officials, including Maharashtra, for failing to register an FIR against those who uttered hate speech, said, "Everyday fringe elements are making speeches to defame others including on TV and public forums." 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta drew the bench's attention to the hate speech given by a person against a particular community in Kerala and said that the appellant Shaheen Abdullah has selectively mentioned incidents of hate speech in the country. There was a heated debate between Mehta and the bench on this.

Referring to those speeches, the bench said, "Every action has an equal reaction... We are following the Constitution and in every case, the orders are like bricks in the structure of legal rule. We are hearing the appeal because the states are not acting on time and they have become powerless. If the states are silent in such matters, what is the point of being a state?" The court fixed April 28 for the next hearing of the matter and asked the Maharashtra government to respond to the appeal.