Hate speech | Supreme Court seeks response from Government

Notices issued to Ministry of Home Affairs, police chiefs of Delhi, Uttarakhand.

Updated - January 12, 2022 10:10 pm IST

Published - January 12, 2022 01:05 pm IST - New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Ministry of Home Affairs and the police chiefs of Delhi and Uttarakhand to respond to petitions that people accused of delivering hate speeches at a Dharm Sansad organised in Haridwar have not been arrested yet.

A Bench led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana issued notice even as petitioners contended that the declarations of communal hatred made by the speakers at Haridwar and in Delhi were unlike anything seen or heard before. They had made “open calls for the extermination of an entire religious community”, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Indira Jaising submitted. The new headline will be: Supreme Court issues notice to MHA, police chiefs of Delhi and Uttarakhand on Haridwar hate speeches.

Explained | What is ‘hate speech’, and how is it treated in Indian law?

“There is no law for this kind of hate speech,” Mr. Sibal said. He said the incident took a different colour from even the past instances of mob lynchings.

The senior lawyer said more of these ‘Dharm Sansads’ had been organised. The next was on January 23 at Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, he said.

“If this court does not take quick steps, ‘Dharm Sansads’ would be held in Una, Kurukshetra, Dasna, Aligarh and in States where the process of election is going on. The atmosphere of the entire country will be vitiated. No arrests have taken place,” Mr. Sibal submitted.


The senior lawyer asked the court to list the case on Monday, especially in the light of the event to be held on January 23.

However, the court said Monday would not be possible. The Bench advised the petitioners to make a representation to the local authorities, making their apprehensions clear that speeches in these ‘Dharm Sansads’ may run the risk of violating the penal law against hate and were against the judgments of the Supreme Court.

Editorial |  Striking fear: On Haridwar hate speech and legal action

The Bench, during the hearing, noted that hate speech had been the subject of several petitions already pending with another Bench of the court. If that was so, this case ought to be tagged with the earlier ones before the other Bench.

The CJI, however, said the Haridwar hate speech case would be listed 10 days later, either separately or with the earlier cases.

Also read | Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya defends hate speech at Haridwar religious event

The petitioners, former High Court judge Anjana Prakash and journalist Qurban Ali, had highlighted that “hate speeches consisted of open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing. The speeches are not mere hate speeches but amount to an open call for murder of an entire community. The speeches thus pose a grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of our country but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens.”

“We are living in different times where slogans in the country have changed from Satyamev Jayate to Shashtramev Jayate ,” Mr. Sibal had submitted during the oral mentioning on Monday.

The senior lawyer had said no investigation or arrests had been made despite the registration of FIRs. Video footage raised suspicions of police being hand in glove with the orators of hate.


The hate speeches were allegedly delivered between December 17 and 19 in Haridwar by Yati Narsinghanand and in Delhi by the ‘Hindu Yuva Vahini’.

The petitioners sought an independent, credible and impartial probe by a special investigation team into the hate speeches against the Muslim community.

The petitioners said “despite the passage of almost three weeks no effective steps have been taken by the police authorities, including non-application of Sections 120B, 121A and 153B of the IPC, 1860 that squarely apply to hate speeches”.

“The blatant inaction by the police also came to the forefront when a police officer’s video went viral on the Internet, wherein one of the speakers openly acknowledged the officer’s allegiance with the organisers and speakers of the ‘Dharm Sansad’... the police authorities are hand in glove with the perpetrators of communal hate,” the petitioners argued.

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