Take Suo Motu Action Against Hate Speeches Or Face Contempt: SC Tells 3 States

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to come down hard on hate speeches, PTI reported.

Since the Constitution of India envisages a secular nation, criminal cases must be promptly registered against culprits without waiting for a complaint to be filed, the country’s top court ordered, warning that any delay by the administration in taking action on this “very serious issue” will invite the court’s contempt.

“The Constitution of India envisages a secular nation and fraternity among citizens assuring the dignity of the individual… The unity and integrity of the nation is one of the guiding principles enshrined in the preamble.

“There cannot be fraternity unless the members of the community from different religions are able to live in harmony. The petitioner points out despite various penal provisions, no action has been taken and there is a need to serve constitutional principles. We feel this court is charged with a duty to protect the fundamental rights and also protect and serve the constitution where the rule of law is maintained,” the bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said.

The top court also issued notices to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on journalist Shaheen Abdullah’s petition seeking direction to the Centre and states to initiate independent, credible and impartial probe into incidents of hate crimes and hate speeches across the country.

The two-justice bench also said action must be taken against those making hate speeches, irrespective of their religion to preserve the secular fabric of the nation.

“Respondents 2-4 (the three states) will file a response as to what action has been taken for the speeches highlighted. They shall ensure that as and when any (hate) speech or action takes place without any complaint being filed, suo motu action is taken in such cases in future without waiting for complaints. Respondents will issue directions to their subordinates for appropriate action and such action will be taken irrespective of religion against the person who delivers such hate speech so that the secular character of this country as envisaged in the preamble is maintained,” Supreme Court said.

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