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Report No. 267

Legislations Around Hate speech:

2.4 Presently, in our country the following legislations have bearing on hate speech, namely:-

(i) the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter IPC)

  • Section 124A IPC penalises sedition
  • Section 153A IPC penalises 'promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony'.
  • Section 153B IPC penalises 'imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration'.
  • Section 295A IPC penalises 'deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs'.
  • Section 298 IPC penalises 'uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person'.
  • Section 505(1) and (2) IPC penalises publication or circulation of any statement, rumour or report causing public mischief and enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes.

(ii) the Representation of The People Act, 1951

  • Section 8 disqualifies a person from contesting election if he is convicted for indulging in acts amounting to illegitimate use of freedom of speech and expression.
  • Section 123(3A) and section 125 prohibits promotion of enmity on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language in connection with election as a corrupt electoral practice and prohibits it.

(iii) the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955

  • Section 7 penalises incitement to, and encouragement of untouchability through words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise

(iv) the Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1988

  • Section 3(g) prohibits religious institution or its manager to allow the use of any premises belonging to, or under the control of, the institution for promoting or attempting to promote disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.

(v) the Cable Television Network Regulation Act, 1995

  • Sections 5 and 6 of the Act prohibits transmission or re-transmission of a programme through cable network in contravention to the prescribed programme code or advertisement code. These codes have been defined in rule 6 and 7 respectively of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

(vi) the Cinematograph Act, 1952

  • Sections 4, 5B and 7 empower the Board of Film Certification to prohibit and regulate the screening of a film.

(vii) the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

  • Section 95 empowers the State Government, to forfeit publications that are punishable under sections 124A, 153A, 153B, 292, 293 or 295A IPC.
  • Section 107 empowers the Executive Magistrate to prevent a person from committing a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity or to do any wrongful act that may probably cause breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity.
  • Section 144 empowers the District Magistrate, a Sub-divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered by the State Government in this behalf to issue order in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger. The above offences are cognizable. Thus, have serious repercussions on liberties of citizens and empower a police officer to arrest without orders from a magistrate and without a warrant as in section 155 CrPC.


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