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Inform if states, UTs following orders to curb hate speech: SC to Centre

The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind is one of the petitioners, who have sought the court’s intervention to curb hate speech in the wake of remarks by certain political leaders on the Prophet, which had sparked widespread protests.

Supreme Court, Union Home Ministry, Union Territories, hate speeches, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsThe bench also told the EC not to treat the matter as adversarial and asked it to step in.

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Union Home Ministry to file a report within three weeks on whether states have complied with the court’s earlier verdicts on curbing hate speech.

“As the first step, at least this information should be before us. Which states are proactive, which are not acting at all, which have acted partially…” the bench observed.

The bench, comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar, A S Oka and J B Pardiwala, was hearing a batch of petitions seeking the top court’s intervention in curbing hate speech and rumour-mongering.

The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind is one of the petitioners, who have sought the court’s intervention to curb hate speech in the wake of remarks by certain political leaders on the Prophet, which had sparked widespread protests.

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The court was referring to earlier rulings in which, it said, it had passed “preventive, corrective and remedial” measures to deal with such situations.

In a 2018 ruling, Tehseen Poonawala v Union of India, the Supreme Court had condemned the “sweeping phenomenon” of lynching and mob violence in the country. It had issued several directions to the Centre and state governments to curb such violence including bringing a new law, if necessary.

In Shakti Vahini v Union of India verdict in 2018, in which petitioners sought the court’s intervention in curbing honour killing, the top court ruled that any attempt by khap panchayats, or any other assembly, to scuttle or prevent two consenting adults from marrying is absolutely ‘illegal’.

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“Considering the nature of the issue involved and in the backdrop of the general directions issued by this court…we request the Secretary, Home Department, Government of India, to collate necessary information from the respective states/UTs,” the court said.

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The bench asked the Home secretaries of states and UTs concerned to furnish the requisite information within two weeks of receiving a communication from the Union Home Secretary to ensure that the latter would be in a position to compile the necessary information and present it before the court within the specified time.

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It said the matter would come up for hearing after six weeks.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj said they can collect information from various states and UTs as to what transpired there and what development has taken place to comply with the apex court directives.

The counsel appearing for the Election Commission of India told the bench that they have been impleaded as a party in one of the petitions, which has sought direction to the Centre to examine international laws and take effective and stringent steps to control hate speech and rumour-mongering in the country,

The bench also told the EC not to treat the matter as adversarial and asked it to step in.

With PTI inputs

First published on: 21-07-2022 at 23:44 IST
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