• As there is no clear definition of what constitutes a “hate speech” in the British-era Indian Penal Code(IPC), the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws is attempting for the first time to define such speech.


  • Earlier, Bureau of Police Research and Development had defined hate speech as a “language that denigrates insults, threatens or targets an individual based on their identity and other traits (such as sexual orientation or disability or religion etc.).”
  • Also, United Nations Secretary-General released Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech which sets out strategic guidance for the United Nations system to address hate speech at the national and global level.
  • Issues with regulating hate speech: It may shrink the space for criticism and dissent, which are covered by the human right of a person to free speech and expression.

Legal provisions of hate speech in India:

  • Restrictions imposed by Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
  • Section 124A IPC penalizes sedition
  • Section 505 (1) and (2) IPC penalizes publication or circulation of any statement, rumour or report causing public mischief and enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes.
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