Skip to main content

BJP tops the list of "hate speech" MPs, MLAs by their own admission, even as Indian law fails to define term

By Our Representative
An analysis of the self-sworn affidavits filed by sitting MPs and MLAs has revealed that the BJP has the largest number of MPs/MLAs -- 27 out of 58 -- with declared cases against themselves related to hate speech, as against Congress' just 2. Done by India's advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), in association with National Election Watch (NEW), the analysis suggests that there is an urgent need to have a deeper look into this aspect in order to strengthen democratic institutions.
Interestingly, the political party which is the remote second in the number of MPs and MLAs who have declared in their affidavits that cases relating to hate speech were filed against them is All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, with 6 elected representatives. An equal number of MPs/MLAs of the Telengana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), 6, were found to have admitted hacing delivered hate speeches, followed by Telugu Dream Party 3 and Shiv Sena 3. This is followed by the Trinamool Congress 2, and Janata Dal (United) 2, and so on.
Even as giving these details, the ADR analysis quotes a Law Commission Report, No 267 of March 2017 on hate speech, saying that “hate speech” has not been defined in any law in India. "However, legal provisions in certain legislations prohibit select forms of speech as an exception to freedom of speech", the analysis notes.
It adds, "The term hate speech has been used invariably to mean expression which is abusive, insulting, intimidating, harassing or which incites violence, hatred or discrimination against groups identified by characteristics such as one’s race, religion, place of birth, residence, region, language, caste or community, sexual orientation or personal convictions."
According to ADR, "By giving tickets to candidates who have been charged with cases related to Hate speech especially promoting enmity between religious groups and for committing acts that are intended to outrage religious feelings, political parties have been in a way abetting circumstances that lead to events such as communal riots and violence between different groups of people."
According to the analysis, the Law Commission Report says hate speech comes under IPC Section 153A IPC, which penalises ‘promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony; and Section 153B IPC, which penalises ‘imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration’.
Then there is Section 295A IPC, which penalises ‘deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs’; Section 298 IPC which penalises ‘uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person’; and Section 505(1) and (2) IPC, which penalises publication or circulation of any statement, rumour or report causing public mischief and enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes.
Further, there are provisions under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, says the ADR analysis. These ae Section 8, which disqualifies a person from contesting election if he/she is convicted for indulging in acts amounting to illegitimate use of freedom of speech and expression; Section 123(3A) and Section 125, which prohibitspromotion of enmity on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language in connection with election as a corrupt electoral practice and prohibits it.
ADR believes, "Hate speech poses complex challenges to freedom of speech and expression. Hence, new provisions in IPC are required to be incorporated to address this issue. Amendments to the IPC, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 by adding new provisions on ‘Prohibiting incitement to hatred’ provocation of violence in certain cases’ following section 505 IPC, and accordingly amending the First Schedule of CrPC."
It adds, "Internet is an important tool for disseminating information and opinions; however, it also serves as a platform for disseminating unlawful speech. Political parties have been misusing the medium for unlawful statements. Hence, it is recommended that such unlawful statements on online platforms should be monitored and if the person found guilty, they should be penalised."
Asking political parties not to give tickets to the candidates who have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, the analysis says, "A total of 58 current MPs and MLAs have declared cases related to hate speech.Of these, 15 sitting Lok Sabha MPs have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves.
Providing party wise MPs with declared cases related to hate speech, the analysis says, of the 15, as many as 10 are sitting Lok Sabha MP from the BJP, none from other national parties, including Congress. Rest of them belong to regional parties, with each party having one MP each.
As for the sitting MLAs with declared cases related to hate speech, of the 43 who have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves 17 are from the BJP, and just 2 from the Congress.
State-wise MLAs with declared cases related to hate speech suggest that 11 are sitting MLAs from Telangana. 4 from Bihar, 9 from Uttar Pradesh, 4 from Maharashtra, 3 each from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, 2 each from Uttarakhand and West Bengal and 1 MLA each from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.