Nobody can accept hate speech; harmony and comity needed between communities: SC

06:29 PM Aug 11, 2023 | PTI |

New Delhi: Observing that there has to be harmony and comity between communities, the Supreme Court on Friday mooted a committee constituted by the Director General of Police (DGP) of Haryana to go into the cases registered in the wake of the recent communal riots in the state that claimed six lives.


The top court was hearing a plea over alleged “blatant hate speeches” calling for killing members of a particular community and their social and economic boycott at rallies in different states, including Haryana.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti asked Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for the Centre, to seek instructions and inform it about the proposed committee by August 18.

”There has to be some harmony and comity between the communities and all the communities are responsible. I do not know if this has been exaggerated but the problem of hate speech is not good and nobody can accept it.

”We can ask the DGP to constitute a committee of three or four officers nominated by him who will receive and peruse all materials from station house officers and take a call if the material is authentic and issue appropriate directions to the concerned police officer. At SHO level and police level, the police needs to be sensitised,” the bench said.


The top court also directed journalist Shaheen Abdullah, who is the petitioner in the case, to collate all material, including videos, and submit to the nodal officers appointed in each state in pursuance of its October 21, 2022 judgement.

During the hearing, Nataraj submitted the Union of India is also against hate speeches which must be checked totally.

He acknowledged the mechanism to tackle hate speeches is not working in some places.

At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Abdullah, submitted that people needed to be protected against hate speeches and ”this kind of vitriol cannot go on”.

When the bench asked Sibal about the idea mooted by it for setting up a committee, the senior lawyer said, ”My problem is when someone threatens shopkeepers to throw out Muslims in the next two days, this committee is not going to help.” Sibal said police keep on saying that FIR has been registered but the offenders are never arrested or prosecuted.

”The problem is not the registration of FIRs, but what progress is made? They do not arrest anybody, nor do they prosecute anybody. Nothing happens after the FIRs are lodged,” Sibal said. The matter will now be heard on August 18.

The application filed by Abdullah has referred to the August 2 order of the apex court which said, ”We hope and trust that the state governments and police will ensure that no hate speeches irrespective of the identity are made against any community and there is no physical violence or damage to the properties.”

Observing that hate speeches vitiate the atmosphere, the top court had said wherever required, adequate police force or paramilitary force would be deployed and the authorities, including police, will use CCTV cameras installed or record/make video recording in all sensitive areas.

The application said despite the apex court’s order, over 27 rallies were organised in various states in the aftermath of the communal clashes in Haryana’s Nuh and hate speeches were made.

”Despite the aforementioned order, more than 27 rallies have been organised across various states where blatant hate speeches calling for the killing and social and economic boycott of Muslims have been openly delivered,” it said.

The application contains a table showing some of the rallies that took place between August 1, 2023 and August 7 with relevant video links.

”In a video that surfaced on social media on August 2, 2023 a procession by the ‘Samhast Hindu Samaj’ can be seen walking through a neighbourhood in Hisar, Haryana in the presence of police officials issuing warnings to residents/shopkeepers that if they continue to employ/keep any Muslims after 2 days then their shops will be boycotted,” it said.

The petitioner has sought directions to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi and Director General of Police of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and other authorities to take adequate action and ensure such rallies are not allowed.

The top court had passed the August 2 order after senior advocate C U Singh, appearing for Abdullah, said 23 demonstrations were announced by Hindu Right groups Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal in various parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) over Haryana clashes.

Six people, including two home guards and a cleric, were killed in the communal clashes that first erupted in Nuh when a Vishva Hindu Parishad procession was attacked by mobs. The communal clashes later spread to Gurugram and some other places close to the national capital.


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