A group of retired civil servants has moved the Supreme Court seeking an “authoritative ruling” on the subject of “hate speech”.
They have sought the court’s permission to intervene in a matter relating to a programme telecast on Sudarshan News. They said “that it is important for the top court issue an authoritative ruling setting out the scope and meaning of ‘hate speech’, so citizens implementing authorities and courts of the first instance receive clarity on speech that it protected and speech that falls outside the scope of protection”.
The applicants, including Amitabha Pande, Navrekha Sharma, Deb Mukharji, Sundar Burra, Meena Gupta, Pradeep K Deb and Ardhendu Sen, said they belong to a collective called ‘Constitutional Conduct Group’.
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They contended that though provisions dealing with hate speech exist in the IPC, their application “has been uneven, and in many cases, these provisions are applied in a manner that is inconsistent with the guarantees under Article 19(1)(a)”.
The court had on August 28 declined to grant a stay on the telecast of a programme by Sudarshan News which claimed to “expose” the “infiltration of Muslims” in the civil services, saying it was important to be circumspect about imposing a pre-broadcast injunction.
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