Former Judge Urges SC to Look Into Hate Speeches, Lay Down Law if Need Be

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Citing a Supreme Court ruling, Justice Madan Lokur, however, said there was no need for a separate law as there are enough laws to tackle hate speech

Team Clarion


NEW DELHI – Former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur has criticised the recent definition of hate speeches propounded by the apex court and the government for failing to act against those making hateful remarks against a particular community.

In a sharp reaction to the hate speeches made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), MP Parvesh Verma and others at a recent event held in Delhi on Sunday, Justice Lokur said it is shocking that these kinds of statements are being made. He noted that this is not the first time that this gentleman made this kind of statement. He had made similar statements earlier.

Justice Lokur made these observations in an interview with NDTV on Tuesday. He was referring to an earlier statement made by Verma against Shaheen Bagh protesters during the campaign for the Delhi assembly elections. On Sunday, Verma called for a total boycott of Muslims while other speakers went a step ahead instigating violence against the minority community.
“It is also shocking that no action is being taken to prevent such a statement being made,” Justice Lokur pointed out.
Citing a Supreme Court ruling, he said there was no need for a separate law as there are enough laws to tackle hate speech.
When asked about the police not taking action against those indulging in hate speech, Lokur said, “It’s very difficult to say what’s going on. The police don’t act. If they act, they act against the wrong person. What does one do in a situation like this? Fortunately, about the hate speech aspect, the matter is pending in the Supreme Court. I hope the Supreme Court looks into this and lays down the law that some action has to be taken. You can’t have people who make hate speech and get away with it and people who are saying completely innocuous things being behind bars for sedition”.
He said the apex had taken the correct view with regard to hate speech in case of Pravin Togadia who had made some inflammatory speeches. He was not allowed to enter a certain district of Karnataka because of his hate speeches made in the past. The court had endorsed the administration’s decision citing the past conduct of Togadia.
Justice Lokur pointed out that the Supreme Court had earlier noted that those who are targeted can go through some kind of trauma. “But in a more recent judgment, the Supreme Court has taken, in my view, a step backward by saying that there must be some element of violence that must form a part of the impact. That, in my view, is not correct. It did not necessarily lead to violence. It can have a psychological impact on a person,” he said.
He also criticised the observation made by the Delhi High Court that if one makes hate speeches with a smile, there is no criminality saying it makes no difference whether you smile or not. It is a wrong statement being made.
He said that the authorities and the police should implement the law with regard to hate speech in letter and spirit. In any case, if the police refuse to implement the law, nobody can do anything about it. “The law has to be implemented. There is no question about it,” he said.  

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