On 3 November, the BJP-led NDA government, decided to support the prosecution of BJP Leader Subramanian Swamy for insinuating hate speech in his writings, an act that violates the Indian penal code, and could promote hatred between Hindus and Muslims.
The BJP-led government told the Supreme Court to retain charges against Swamy. The Home Ministry submitted an affidavit in response to Swamy’s plea challenging the criminal charges against him, for his book on terrorism, in which, he allegedly makes controversial statements about Hindus and Muslims.
As his books could possibly incite violence and riots, the government said that the people cannot be allowed to spread hatred in the name of freedom of speech. It came when Swamy’s write-up challenged the validity of sections 153, 153A,153B, 295, 295A, 298 and 505 of the IPC, regarding hate speech.
According to the law, hate speech can be constituted as a speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display, which is forbidden, as it may have the potential to incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.
The affidavit also came in response to Subramanian Swamy’s arguments that such sections should not be valid if there are no violating reactions within a span of time. At a time, when there are communal tensions, this move could create a huge impact.
On the other hand, the government said that the validity of the sections cannot be countered as the constitution has certain obligations marked in order maintain peace and harmony in the country, which include the sections preventing hate speeches in any forms.
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) mentioned that the unity of the country has to be preserved at all costs.
The MHA said that, “Our Constitution is based upon the principle that persons of all caste, creed and religion must live together in harmony and that in the long run, prosperity and salvation are in the union and not in division adding that people are not at all allowed to spread hatred towards any community or class in the name of freedom of speech and expression which would result in public disorder and riots.”