SC issues notice to centre on curbing hate speeches

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the government on a petition seeking framing of guidelines to curb elected representatives, political and religious leaders from delivering hate speeches for political goals.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Vikramajit Sen issued the notice after senior counsel Basva Patil told the court that some leaders delivered hate speeches repeatedly, inflaming regional, religious and ethnic passions.

The public interest litigation (PIL), filed by the voluntary organisation Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan, urged the court to direct that “fraternity” forms part of the basic structure of the constitution.

The court observed that the civil society too had a role in curbing such tendencies.

Patil told the court that such leaders, if arrested after making the hate speech, repeat their actions upon being released on bail.

He urged the court that the rule of law should be strengthened and such leaders should not be permitted to repeatedly make hate speeches.

Notice was also issued to the Election Commission, and the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh governments.

The PIL said that numerous hate and derogatory speeches made by the elected representatives, political and religious leaders on caste, religion, region and ethnic lines were violative of the Article 14 (Equality before law), Article 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste or place of birth), Article 16 (Equality in matter of public appointments), Article 19 (Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech) and Article 21 (Protection of life and liberty) read with the Directive Principles of State Policy.

Referring to alleged hate speeches by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia, the petition said that their utterances were destroying the fabric of democracy, unity and integrity of the country.

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