Law Commission of India
Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan
former Judge Supreme Court of India
Law Commission of India
Government of India
Hindustan Times House
K,G. Marg, New Delhi-110 001
Telephone : 23736758, Fax : 23355741
Dated: March 23, 2017
Dear Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Ji,
The Supreme Court, in the case of Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union. of India & Ors., AIR 2014 SC 1591, observed that the issue of hate speech deserved deeper consideration by the Law Commission of India. It stated that “…we request the Law Commission to also examine the issues raised herein thoroughly and also to consider, if it deems proper, defining the expression “hate speech” and make recommendations to the Parliament to strengthen the Election Commission to curb the menace of “hate speeches” irrespective of whenever made”.
The Supreme Court referred to its consistent clarifications that directions are issued only when there appears to be a total vacuum in law, i.e. “complete absence of active law to provide for the effective enforcement of basic human rights“. In case there is inaction on the part of the executive for whatsoever reason, the court has always stepped in to discharge its constitutional obligation to enforce the law. The Court further observed that “in case of vacuum of legal regime, to deal with a particular situation, the court may issue guidelines to provide a solution till such time as the legislature acts to perform its role by enacting proper legislation to cover the field.”
The Commission considered the laws on hate speech in various jurisdictions, judicial pronouncements of the Supreme Court and the High Courts and analysed the existing provisions relevant to the subject matter.
Consequently, the Commission suggests amendments to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 by adding new provisions on Prohibiting incitement to hatred’ following section 153B IPC and ‘Causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases’ following section 505 IPC, and accordingly amending the First Schedule of the CrPC. These suggestions have been put together in the form of the Commission’s Report No.267 titled “Hate Speech”, which is enclosed herewith for consideration by the Government.
The Commission acknowledges the commendable assistance provided by Ms. Anumeha Mishra, Dr. Saumya Saxena, and Ms. Shikha Dhandharia as consultants working on this project.
[Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan]
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad
Hon’ble Minister for Law and Justice Government of India
New Delhi – 110 115
Table of Contents
|II||Hate Speech in India||5-8|
|III||Examination of the Issue by the Commission||9-14|
|IV||Impact of Hate Speech on Freedom of Expression||15-31|
|V||Identifying Criteria of Hate Speech||32-36|
|VI||Review of Penal Law||37-50|
|A||The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017||51-53|