SC asks Centre to collect information from State on preventive, corrective and remedial measures on Hate Speech

Centre to submit a compilation of a booklet within a period of six weeks

SC asks Centre to collect information from State on preventive, corrective and remedial measures on Hate Speech

On July 20, 2022, Supreme Court asked the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to compile information regarding preventive, corrective and remedial measures taken by the State Government, so far, in compliance with its earlier judgment, reported LiveLaw. The Centre is to place before the court the compilation, in the form of a booklet, within a period of six weeks.

Referring to compliance with the slew of directions passed by the Court in Kodungallur Film Society v. UoI, Tehseen Poonawalla v. UoI and Shakti Vahini v. UoI, a Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, AS Oka and JB Pardiwala reportedly stated, “We request the Secretary, Home Department, GoI to collate necessary information from the respective State/UTs in respect of matters referred to in the common chart to be made over by the Counsels for the petitioner in one week. The information essentially would be in respect of matter in nature of compliance with directions and observation in the afore-stated decisions to provide for preventive, corrective and remedial measures from arresting untoward situations that occur and are referred to in the petitions.”

The Supreme Court had issued following directions in the above mentioned cases:

  • Kodungallur Film Society vs. UoI [WP (Civil) no. 330 of 2018]: Directions were issued to control vandalism by protesting mobs;

  • Tehseen Poonawalla vs. UOI [WP (C) 754 of 2016]: Comprehensive guidelines were issued to the Union and State Governments regarding prevention of mob violence and lynching;

  • Shakti Vahini vs. UOI [WP (Civil) no. 231 of 2010]: Directions were issued to prevent, curb and remedy honour killing.

The counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners insinuated a lack of compliance with the directions passed by the Apex court on part of the States and Union Territories, based on the instances of hate speech and consequent crimes that have taken place recently across the country. With an aim to take stock of the situation, the Bench reportedly told the ASG Mr. Nataraj, “….to verify if compliance has been done, you give us the compilation. If they (State Governments/UTs) say they have done it, give it, if they say that they have not, we (State Government/UTs) will do it in a particular time frame, give that also. So that the respective states can be then called upon to do the needful and then individual cases can be taken up.”

Accordingly, the Bench further directed, “The Secretary (MoH, GoI) may collate necessary info by corresponding directly with Secy of Home Department, State Government within three weeks and compile it in the form of a booklet, state-wise, to be presented to this court within six weeks from today.”

With respect to the individual petitions, the State Governments, Union Territories, Election Commission and Union Government were asked to file responses in three weeks’ time and petitioners were asked to file rejoinder within one week thereafter, as reported by LiveLaw.

A batch of petitions had been filed seeking directions to prevent/curb hate speech, amongst which one was filed at the time when anti-Muslim slogans were raised at a rally in Jantar Mantar New Delhi and another was filed to seek directions to Centre to examine the international laws relating to ‘Hate Speech’ and ‘Rumor Mongering’ and take steps to control the same.


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