Say NO to hate speech, says Law Commission

New Delhi: The Law Commission has proposed amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to curb hate speech, an official statement said on Friday.

In its report titled 'Hate Speech' submitted to the Law and Justice Ministry on Thursday, the Commission has said that "several factors need to be considered before restricting a speech, like, the context of the speech, the status of the victim, the status of the maker of the speech and the potential of the speech to create discriminatory and disruptive circumstances". 

"After a thorough examination of the issue and an analysis of the international legal framework, the Commission has proposed amendments to the Indian Penal Code by insertion of new sections after section 153B and 505A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860," said the Ministry statement.

The law panel further proposed that apart from this sanctioning such expression, other strategies might also be employed "to encourage harmony among different groups of society" like sensitising and educating the public on responsible exercise of speech. 

The Supreme Court had asked the Law Commission to examine if it "deems proper to define hate speech and make recommendations to the Parliament to strengthen the Election Commission to curb the menace of hate speeches irrespective of, whenever made" in the Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan versus Union of India case. 

"It is necessary that forms of expression that have the potential of inciting hatred and violence are regulated," the Commission observed, adding that the European Court of Human Rights has stressed the need to exercise free speech in a responsible manner, especially in an increasingly multicultural and plural world.