NEW DELHI: In relation to hate speech, the recent direction of the Supreme Court making it incumbent upon the regulatory mechanism to take action is a reflection of the judicial will to deal with an issue that has been largely neglected during the past few years.
This is not the first time the Supreme Court has invoked the constitutional mandate of “fraternity” and “secularism” to ensure that constitutional principles govern the basic ethos of societal values. But this direction means that the court can be approached to initiate contempt action against responsible officials for non-action on hate speech.
The non-action of police authorities in initiating criminal action has already taken up a lot of the time of the constitutional courts. The present order on hate speech is also an outcome of the non-action of police authorities, despite the mandatory requirement under the CrPC.
There are instances where, when people protested against the non-action of the police against hate speech, FIRs were registered against the protestors and they were arrested. No action, however, was taken against the initial crime.
At the same time, there are instances when similar crimes of hate speech, coming from a different class of people, are taken cognisance of and action is taken quickly. The problem on the ground is extraordinary and extraordinary measures are needed to address it. This is why this order of the Supreme Court is not only important but can also be dubbed as a turning point.
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