SC focused on laying down a broad machinery to deal with crimes like hate speech

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On November 29, 2023, the Supreme Court (SC) of India was hearing a batch of petitions to curb hate speeches. While hearing the petitions, the bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice SVN Bhatti said that action must be taken against all kinds of hate speech. In addition, it instructed all police chiefs across all Union Territories and state governments to file suo motu cases against hate speeches made by anyone. In this context, Justice Khanna said, “We cannot have a pan-India monitoring of the problem of hate speeches. In a country as big as India, there will be problems. But the question to be asked is whether we have an administrative mechanism to deal with it.” The bench further posted the matter for hearing in February 2024 stating, “Society must know if a law is violated, there will be an action that follows. We cannot have these proceedings on a pan-India basis or else every day, applications will keep coming.” The SC also said that it will not deal with individual cases of violation and will focus on laying down a broad machinery to deal with such crimes.

Along with this, the SC also issued a notice to the States of KeralaGujaratNagaland, and Tamil Nadu after being informed by the Union Government that they have not responded to the Union’s letter regarding compliance with the 2018 judgment in the Tehseen Poonawalla case. In this case, the SC bench directed all the states/Union territories to appoint nodal officers to deal with hate crimes and mob violence. As per the Centre’s status report, Andaman and Nicobar IslandsAssamDelhiHaryanaJammu & KashmirLakshadweepMaharashtraMeghalayaOdishaPunjabSikkimTripuraUttar PradeshAndhra PradeshArunachal PradeshChhattisgarhGoaHimachal PradeshJharkhandMadhya PradeshKarnatakaManipurMizoramPuducherryRajasthanTelanganaUttarakhand, and UT of Ladakh are the states which informed that they had appointed nodal officers.