SC urges government to act against hate speech or face contempt

New Delhi: During a three-day visit, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticised India’s human rights record and rising hate speech, and two days later, the Supreme Court responded with some of its strongest remarks on the subject.

“This is the 21st century. Where have we reached in the name of religion?” the court said, hearing a petition on hate speeches and directing authorities to act against such instances by themselves or face contempt charges. “Contempt will be initiated if the authorities fail to act,” the court said.

In a recent “Hindu Sabha,” BJP MP Parvesh Verma from West Delhi called for a “total boycott” of “these people,” an obvious reference to Muslims. Senior attorney Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioner Shaheen Abdullah, used this instance to illustrate his point.

The judges also heard remarks made by Jagat Guru Yogeshwar Acharya, another speaker at the event, who urged audience members to “slit the throats” of anyone who “raises a finger at our temples.”

The judges said, “It’s our duty… if we don’t do it, it’s abdication on our part,” after Mr. Sibal thanked them for their strict directive to the police and governments to file cases on their own.

To stop hate crimes and hate speeches, Mr. Abdullah has also petitioned for the use of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other strict regulations.

The hearing came two days after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres red-flagged growing hate speeches in the country in a rare rebuke.

“As an elected member of the Human Rights Council, India has a responsibility to shape global human rights, and to protect and promote the rights of all individuals, including members of minority communities,” Mr Guterres said in a speech in Mumbai.

Source: NDTV

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