Hate speeches are the beginning of attacks on a targeted community and there have been cases of demographic shifts in the aftermath of inflammatory speeches, with the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir being its prime example, said the Delhi High Court on Monday.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said that the methodology of hate speeches is not restricted to any religion or community and there are instances of hate speeches in different parts of the country targeted against people of specific communities based upon demography.
Justice Singh asserted that hate speeches are targeted at a community to create a psychological impact on their psyche and the attacks can range from discrimination to ostracism, ghettoization, deportation, and even genocide.
He said, "Hate speeches are almost invariably targeted towards a community to impart a psychological impact on their psyche, creating fear in the process. Hate speeches are the beginning point of attacks against the targeted community that can range from discrimination to ostracism, ghettoization, deportation, and, even genocide. The methodology is not restricted to any religion or community in specific.
"There have been and there continue to be instances of hate speeches in different parts of the country targeted against people of specific communities, based upon the demographic composition. There have even been instances of demographic shifts in the aftermath of such hate/inflammatory speeches, the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley is a prime example."
The Delhi High Court's observations were made while dismissing a petition by CPI(M) leaders Brinda Karat and KM Tiwari challenging the trial court's refusal to direct the registration of an FIR against Union minister Anurag Thakur and his party colleague and MP Pravesh Verma for their alleged hate speeches concerning anti-CAA protest at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh.
The Court emphasised in its order that hate speeches incite violence and feelings of resentment against members of specific communities and marginalise such individuals by using expressions that expose their group to hatred.
It asserted that the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution comes with reasonable restrictions which include public order, decency, or morality, or concerning contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to an offence which includes hate speech.
Article 15 of the Constitution also prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of only religion, race, caste or sex, etc, it added.
It noted that several international accords, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, also condemn discrimination and hate speech.
(With PTI inputs)