New Delhi: Holding hate speeches of social, political and religious leaders based on religion, caste, region or ethnicity a “menace” to society, the Supreme Court today asked law-enforcing agencies to book such persons.
The apex court also asked the Law Commission to examine whether a political party can be de-recognised if it or its members indulged in hate speeches.
A bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan refused to frame guidelines to prevent leaders of different outfits from making provocative speeches, saying “the statutory provisions and particularly the penal law provide sufficient remedy to curb the menace of hate speeches.
“The root of the problem is not the absence of laws but rather a lack of their effective execution. Therefore, the executive as well as civil society has to perform its role in enforcing the already existing legal regime.
“Effective regulation of hate speeches at all levels is required as the authors of such speeches can be booked under the existing penal law and all the law enforcing agencies must ensure that the existing law is not rendered a dead letter,” the bench, also comprising justices M Y Eqbal and A K Sikri said.
“We request the Law Commission to also examine the issues raised thoroughly and also to consider, if it deems proper, defining the expression hate speech and make recommendations to the Parliament to strengthen the Election Commission to curb the menace of hate speeches irrespective of whenever made,” it said .
It also said that court cannot passed guidelines as it is the power of legislature and there are already existing laws to deal with the cases of hate speeches.
“The court cannot re-write, re-cast or reframe the legislation for the very good reason that it has no power to legislate. The very power to legislate has not been conferred on the courts.
However, of lately, judicial activism of the superior courts in India has raised pubic eyebrow time and again,” it said.