‘Where have we reached in the name of religion?’: SC expresses anger over hate speech

The top court sought a report from the Delhi police with regards to the hate speeches that were made on October 9 in Delhi a rally reportedly organised by the Vishva Hindu Parishad.

The Supreme Court on Friday took note of the “rising climate of hate” in the country and directed police to take suo motu action regarding hate speech, irrespective of the speaker’s religion to preserve the secular fabric of the nation.

The apex court directed Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand governments to come down hard on hate speeches and said the Constitution holds secularism in high regard.

The court also asked the three states to promptly register criminal cases against the culprits of hate speech without waiting for a formal complaint.

It issued a notice over pleas alleging hate speech by politicians and said any inaction on the part of police and the authorities will be viewed as contempt.

The court was dealing with a petition filed by Shaheen Abdullah seeking action under penal statutes and the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) against those involved in provocative speeches targetting the Muslim community as well as against organisations providing platforms to such speakers. 

After the murder of a 25-year-old man in Delhi, a rally reportedly organised by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), turned into an epicenter of hate speech with one of the speakers Jagat Guru Yogeshwar Acharya calling upon the people to behead and cut the hands of those who attack them.

Justice Roy then observed that the statements were “very shocking” for a country that is to be religion neutral. “If you say something offensive to penal provisions that should be looked into. A particular kind of statement against a particular community is being highlighted here. The court should not be seen to be on one side,” he said.

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