Hate speech repudiates right to equality in a polity committed to pluralism: Supreme Court

8th Dec

Hate speech repudiates right to equality in a polity committed to pluralism: Supreme Court

The concept of “hate speech” was highlighted in the recent judgement given by the Supreme Court in the case Amish Devgan v/s union of India.
The judgment delivered by a bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjay Khanna discusses the distinctions between “hate speech” and “free speech”, the need to criminalise “hate speech” and the tests to identify it.
The judgment states that it is necessary to draw a difference between “free speech” and “hate speech”
The court observed that the object of criminalising hate speech is to protect the dignity of an individual and to ensure political and social equality between different identities and groups regardless of caste, creed, religion, sex, gender identity and linguistic preference etc.
The court clarified that dignity, in this context of hate speech, it does not refer to any particular level of honour or self respect as an individual.