Hate speech : The IPC:
A panel constituted by the Union Home Ministry to suggest reforms to the British-era Indian Penal Code (IPC) is likely to propose a separate Section on “offenses relating to speech and expression.”
- As there is no clear definition of what constitutes a “hate speech” in the IPC, the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws is attempting for the first time to define such speech.
- The committee is expected to submit its report soon. The suggestions received by the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws will be examined by the Ministry before the changes are adopted.
- Bureau’s definition: The Bureau of Police Research and Development recently published a manual for investigating agencies on cyber harassment cases that 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.).”
- Earlier in 2018, the Home Ministry had written to the Law Commission to prepare a distinct law for online “hate speech” acting on a report by a committee headed by former Lok Sabha Secretary General T.K. Viswanathan recommended stricter laws.
- The committee was formed in the wake of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which provided punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services being scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2015.