Assault and criminal intimidation on facebook

Aggressive comment on Facebook page of Police

Whether Facebook page of the Bengaluru traffic police is a public forum meant for citizens to discuss and post their grievances and whether  the comment  posted on the Facebook could prima facie constitute the offence of assault and criminal intimidation?

 Section 353 defines assault and is as under:

353. Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.- Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person being a public servant in the execution of his duty as such public servant, or with intent to prevent or deter that person from discharging his duty as such public servant, or in consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by such person in the lawful discharge of his duty as such public servant, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

A reading of the above provision shows that the essential ingredients of the offence under Section 353 IPC are that the person accused of the offence should have assaulted the public servant or used criminal force with the intention to prevent or deter the public servant from discharging his duty as such public servant. By perusing the materials available on record, it appears that no force was used by the appellants to commit such an offence. There is absolutely nothing on record to show that the appellants either assaulted the respondents or used criminal force to prevent the second respondent from discharging his official duty. Taking the uncontroverted allegations, in our view, that the ingredients of the offence under Section 353 IPC are not made out. Continue reading “Assault and criminal intimidation on facebook”

Laws against hate speech in India

Definition of hate speech

Hate speech is an effort to marginalise individuals based on their membership in a group. Using expression that exposes the group to hatred, hate speech seeks to delegitimise group members in the eyes of the majority, reducing their social standing and acceptance within society. Hate speech, therefore, rises beyond causing distress to individual group members. It can have a societal impact. Hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on vulnerable that can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and, in the most extreme cases, to genocide. Hate speech also impacts a protected group’s ability to respond to the substantive ideas under debate, thereby placing a serious barrier to their full participation in our democracy.

Laws prohibiting hate speeches in India:

Section 124A of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘IPC’) makes sedition an offence punishable, i.e., when any person attempts to bring into hatred or contempt or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law. (See: Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar, AIR 1962 SC 955) Continue reading “Laws against hate speech in India”