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Evolution of hate speech in India

India is a democratic country and freedom of speech is one of our fundamental rights, but there are certain limitations on free speech like if the speech is harmful to others or if it threatens someone or if it is repulsive then, in that case, that person will be punished.

Talking about hate speech in India is prohibited under several sections of the Indian penal code because the laws of hate speech in India are to prevent discord among its many communities and people. Hate speech is any word written or spoken to someone that defames or dehumanizes a class of people based on color, caste, gender or religion, etc. The speech only carries no meaning other than an expression of hatred for other people.

Hate speech is growing day by day in India because of negligence, people misunderstood that freedom of speech does not mean that a person can speak whatever he feels right. India is a highly populated country and it has various religions and caste so people will discriminate against each other and will follow the caste system it is becoming a major problem of spreading hate speech in India. People need to understand that they should not spread hate speech rather they should be united towards each other.

Causes of hate speech in India:
  • Sense of superiority
    It is one of the main reasons that give voice to hate speech when there enters a feeling of superiority of oneself over other than at that point the person stats dominating the other person or groups or communities.
     
  • Stubborn behavior towards a particular ideology
    When a person or group or community stats showing their stubborn behavior. Do not listen to the other person, opinion thoughts, or perception then at that particular time it leads to the spread of hate speech in India because people are losing their patience and trying to rule over the other person that causes hatred.
     
  • Negative stereotypes
    The people who are negative stereotypes lead us to think of another individual as inferior and less worthy which creates a sense of hate speech and the reason why negative stereotypes occur is because of the systems of oppression – discriminatory structures, etc.
     
These are the causes that create hate speech in India there are various laws regarding hate speech in India. Section153A and Section 153Bof the Indian penal code, 1860 makes any act a punishable offense that incites or promotes disharmony or feeling of hatred between different groups or communities.

The objective of such a provision is to check separatist tendencies to ensure or protect the dignity of an individual and the unity of the nation The important feature of Section 153A of IPC is that there must be two groups or communities involved if there is no other party or community present then Section is not applicable. Hate speech should not be promoted it should be protected and a person must be punished if he/she is spreading hatred among themselves or society.  

153A. Promoting animosity between different groups on the basis of faith, ethnicity, place of birth, residence, language, and other factors, as well as acting in ways that jeopardize the preservation of peace.
  1. Promotes or attempts to encourage disharmony or feelings of enmity, hostility, or ill-will between different religious, ethnic, language, or regional classes, castes, or communities, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, visible representations, or otherwise, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste, or community, or any other ground whatsoever, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste, or community.
     
  2. Commits any act that is detrimental to the maintenance of religious, racial, language, or regional harmony among different religious, racial, language, or regional groups, castes, or communities, and disturbs or is likely to disturb public tranquility.
     
  3. Organizes any workout, movement, drill, or other similar activity with the intent or knowledge that the participants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, or participates in such activity with the intent or knowledge that the participants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, to use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, or to know it is probable that participants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, against any religious, ethnic, language, regional group, caste, or culture, and such activity causes or is likely to trigger fear, alarm, or a sense of insecurity among members for any reason whatsoever religious, ethnic, linguistic, or regional group, caste, or society.

Whoever commits an offence stated in subsection:
  1. In any place of worship or in any assembly engaged in the conduct of religious worship or religious ceremonies is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine.

153B- Imputations and statements that are harmful to national integration.
  1. Whoever, by spoken or written sentences, signs, visual representations, or other means:
    1. Makes or publishes any imputation that any class of persons cannot bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as defined by law, or uphold India's sovereignty and dignity, because they are members of any religious, racial, language, or regional group, caste, or community, or because they are members of any religious, racial, language, or regional group, caste, or community, or because they are members of any religious, racial, language, or regional group.
       
    2. Asserts, counsels, advises, propagates, or publishes that every class of persons shall be denied or deprived of their rights as citizens of India because they are members of any religious, ethnic, language, or regional group, caste, or community;

In any place of worship or in any assembly engaged in the performance of religious worship or religious ceremonies, anyone who commits an offence stated in sub-section
  1. Is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine.
Conclusion
The problem of hate speech has been approached outside of the current legal system. In both cases, direct and constructive involvement of the victims and speakers, whether online or offline, has resulted in results. Furthermore, by bringing both parties to the table for a discussion will also start the healing process.

Hateful speech causes damage. In the case of hate speech, resorting to alternative forms of settlement would provide both parties with a forum for dialogue and eventual resolution outside of the formal rigours of the legal system. The distinguishing feature of these is that the advantage of these methods is that they do not restrict an individual's freedom of speech and expression. Unlike anti-hate speech provisions that are punishable by statute.

Written By: Tanya Gautam - Noida international university, B.A.LL.B.  1st Year

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