India’s Supreme Court ordered all states and Union Territories to file hate speech cases even without the targeted parties filing a complaint.
“Respondent Nos…(all states and UTs) shall ensure that immediately as and when any speech or any action takes place which attracts offenses such as Sections 153A, 153B and 295A and 505 of the IPC etc., suo motu action will be taken to register cases even if no complaint is forthcoming and proceed against the offenders in accordance with law,” the Supreme Court said.
The Supreme Court said that authorities who refuse to file hate speech cases will be in contempt of the court and the appropriate action will be taken.
“We make it clear that any hesitation to act in accordance with this direction will be viewed as contempt of this Court and appropriate action will be taken against the erring officers,” the court said.
India’s top court had made a similar ruling in October 2022 that applied to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand because of a spike in hate speech in those states. Friday’s ruling applies to all states and territories.
The Supreme Court insisted that it was apolitical and religiously neutral.
“We only know the Constitution and the laws of the country… let us be very clear about it… whatever order we pass, it is allegiance to the oath we have taken,” the court said.
The justices noted that hate speech was “affecting the fabric of the nation.”
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