Hate Speech complication in India

I use to come across lot of Political Hate speeches in news, but I also think that isn’t voicing out or expressing our opinion is our right, but indeed it turns out to be an offence.

Team Law Community
July 29, 2020

I use to come across lot of Political Hate speeches in news, but I also think that isn’t voicing out or expressing our opinion is our right, but indeed it turns out to be an offence. We all know that constitution guarantees Right to freedom of Speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution.


Hate speech can be of any form, it can be a Speech, a Gesture or Conduct, and it can even be in a written form that could possibly invite violence or prejudicial actions against an individual or a group. Or in other words it’s a speech which attacks an individual or a group on the basis of their gender, religion, race, disability or ethnic origin. (That’s a simpler definition from 267th Report of the Law Commission of India)

For better understanding on hate speeches in India, and the major concerns for the same is been classified into 2 types:

1. Caste-based discrimination

2. Religious conflict  

But the irony here is that India is a Secular Country.

From independence, India is an old school of Hate speech:

When I think about, when does this hate speech pop ups, the majority is during election time, people gets influenced with the caste /religious based hate speeches, making it easier for the political party to fill his vote banks. It’s something like we are celebrating Hate speech in India. But that’s not the only reasons for India has lots of hate speeches. Hate speech is basically because one considers himself to be superior and urges domination over the other existing groups or communities.  

Earlier I have mentioned that, doesn’t Hate Speech Violates Freedom of speech and Expression. The very first thing to put it in our mind is the right guaranteed by Art. 19(1)(a) of constitution is not an absolute right. So such right is subjected to certain Reasonable Restriction. However critics are of the opinion that this would likely take the liberty of the Individual but the framework behind making Hate speech as a crime is that at no instance it should marginalize certain group or people.  And in wider sense, the country needs to maintain peace and public order.

Legal self regulation provisions:

The fact is that barely it is been used, half the time these section does unnoticed. Though we have lots of provision supporting it, we still could see an indirect form of Hate speech on ground during time of elections.

i. The Indian Penal Code, 1860:

o   Section 124A – Sedition towards the Government

o   Section 153A &Section 153B - Promoting enmity towards group based on their religion, caste, race, etc & Imputations prejudicial to national-integration

o    Section 295A- punishment for any act done that outrage the religious feelings

o   Section 298 - hurting the religious feelings of any person.

o   Section 505(1) and Sec(2) – circulation of anything that would promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between the people.

ii. The Criminal Procedure, 1973:

o   Section 95 - gives power to State Governments to forfeit any publications that are offence under sections 124A, 151A, 153B,292, 293, or 295A of IPC

o   Section 107 & Section 144 - power to Executive Magistrate to prevent a person from committing the act.

Apart from this there is also certain other acts that deals with hate speech:  

i. Section 8,324, 123(3), 123(3A) and 125 of Representation of the People Act, 1958

ii. Section 7 of Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.

iii. Section 3(g)of The Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1988

iv. Sections 5 and 6 of Cable Television Network Regulation Act, 1995

v. Sections 4, 5B and 7 of Cinematograph Act,1952


I feel Hate speech should never be protected in the name of freedom of speech and expression. This is the starting point of marginalizing the particular group of people into threat or vulnerability. Proper measures have to be taken as I feel the laws only lies in the books when it comes to action. In spite of lot of recommendations nothing turns out to be fruitful in stopping hate crimes. Is there a better solution to put an end card to it?