No specific law to curb hate speech, Election Commission says is handicapped | India News

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission, through an affidavit, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that in the absence of any specific law that makes hate speech an offence, it uses the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Representation of People Act to act against political parties and candidates indulging in such speeches. The Election Commission said, “Acts of making hate speech are often inter-connected with appeals to religion, caste, community, etc, during election campaigning.”
It said that through an advisory it has notified all political parties about the 2017 Supreme Court judgment in the Abhiram Singh case, in which it was ruled that any appeal to vote or to refrain from doing so made by a candidate or his/her agent to the electors on the grounds of religion, caste, race, community or language would amount to corrupt practice under the RP Act.
However, the EC expressed its handicap in dealing with hate speech and rumour-mongering during elections, citing absence of any specific law governing these two categories of issues. “In the absence of any specific law governing hate speech and rumour-mongering, the EC employs various provisions of the IPC and the RP Act to ensure that members of political parties or even other persons do not make statements to the effect of creating disharmony between different sections of the society,” it said.

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