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Current Affairs 2023

Supreme Court on Hate Speech - UPSC Current Affairs

Recently, the Supreme Court has taken a firm stance against hate crimes in India. We look at the implications of the ruling, and how it can help to create a more tolerant and inclusive society.

Mar 29, 2023

4 min read

Hate crimes have become a growing concern in India, with recent incidents of violence and discrimination. In response to this, the Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that has taken a firm stance against hate crimes. 


The SC not only condemned the “silence of the state” to such crimes, but also highlighted the need to separate religion from politics in order to tackle the issue. The Court also asked the centre why it did not take suo motu cognisance of a video clip from Kerala that showed a child being made to threaten Hindus and even Christians. 


The Supreme Court asked the Maharashtra government for an explanation about hate speech incidents in the State. The court also expressed concern about the “vicious circle of hate” that has been created by such incidents, and suggested that the solution lies in separating religion from politics. The ruling also highlighted the need for greater restraint when it comes to freedom of speech.


Justice B.V. Nagarathna said that hate speeches have made cracks in the idea of fraternity, and that such speeches are often made by “fringe elements” who have “no stuff in them”. Justice K.M. Joseph also expressed his opinion that before India can think of becoming a superpower, it must first follow the rule of law. He said that hate speech strikes a mortal blow to dignity, and that as a society, we must take a pledge to restrain ourselves from saying such things.


The Supreme Court ruling is a positive step towards creating a more tolerant and inclusive society in India. By taking a firm stance against hate crimes, the ruling has sent a strong message that such acts of violence and discrimination will not be tolerated. It is now up to the government and citizens to ensure that this ruling is implemented, and that the country moves towards a society that is free from hate and prejudice.


What is hate crime?


A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against an individual, group, or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias or prejudice against the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The motive for the crime is based on the victim's membership in a particular group, rather than any personal characteristic or behavior of the victim. Hate crimes can take many forms, including assault, vandalism, harassment, and murder. The purpose of hate crime laws is to provide enhanced legal protections and penalties for these types of crimes.


Inclusive Society


An inclusive society is one that values diversity and actively seeks to include all members, regardless of their differences, in every aspect of society. This means that all individuals are given equal opportunities, rights, and respect, regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexuality, age, ability, or any other characteristic that might make them different from the majority. An inclusive society promotes social cohesion and harmony, and recognizes that diversity is a strength rather than a weakness. It ensures that everyone has a voice and is represented in decision-making processes, and that policies and practices are designed to meet the needs of all members. An inclusive society also addresses systemic barriers and discrimination that may prevent some individuals or groups from fully participating in society, and works to remove those barriers.


What is rule of law?


The rule of law is a principle that refers to the idea that everyone, including individuals, organizations, and governments, must follow and be subject to the law, regardless of their status, position, or power. This principle ensures that there is no one above the law and that everyone is held accountable for their actions. It also implies that laws should be clear, predictable, and applied consistently and fairly. The rule of law is an important aspect of a democratic society as it helps to protect individual rights, promote justice, and prevent the abuse of power.


Main Exam Questions


1. Discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling against hate crimes in India and its implications for creating a more inclusive society. What steps can the government and citizens take to ensure a future free from hate and prejudice? 


2. How can the idea of fraternity be restored in the face of hate speeches made by fringe elements, and what role does the rule of law play in achieving this? Use relevant examples and arguments to support your answer. 

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