Report No. 267
Legal Provisions of Hate Speech in India
2.1 Responsible speech is the essence of the liberty granted under article 21 of the Constitution. One of the greatest challenges before the principle of autonomy and free speech principle is to ensure that this liberty is not exercised to the detriment of any individual or the disadvantaged section of the society. In a country like India, with diverse castes, creed, religions and languages, this issue poses a greater challenge.
2.2 Article 19(2) of the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all citizens of India. This article is subjected to certain restrictions, namely, sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
2.3 Hate speech has not been defined in any law in India. However, legal provisions in certain legislations prohibit select forms of speech as an exception to freedom of speech.