Ignore people engaging in hate propaganda, says SC

New Delhi, Sep 25: The Supreme Court on Thursday held that it would be better for Indian democracy if the inflammatory and hate speeches by certain people rooted in bigotry are ignored, as anything contrary acts as fodder for them and encourages them to indulge in more vituperative acts.

A bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said that over 60 years of its democratic journey, the society has become mature, it has learnt to co-exist and it is better to ignore the disruptive utterance threatening peace and tranquillity.

"Best thing is to ignore them. if you take cognizance of what they say, they become active (thinking) that is their nuisance is being taken note of," the court told senior counsel Colin Gonsalves who urged it to take cognizance of a hate CD circulated by an religious outfit at a fair at Dang district of Gujarat.

The matter was raised before the apex court by NGO ANHAD.

Impressing upon the senior counsel that "the activities of such outfits are best ignored", Chief Justice Lodha said: "I am trying to guide you from a different perspective. Giving importance to these matters (amounts to) giving them recognition. They come to think that our activities are getting recognised. We should do something more."

In an attempt to impress upon the court that it was not a isolated incident and it was happening all over the country, Gonsalves told the court that what was not happening for four decades after independence started happening in the 1990s and is continuing now. He cited communal disturbances in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar to buttress his submission.

"Communalisation and communal riots do not take place just like that. For years the grounds are prepared. Minds are fractured by these kind of hate propaganda. The riots become impossible to control," he said, contending that these should not be seen as local or isolated instances as it is a national phenomenon.

He objected to the Gujarat home secretary finding the content of the CD normal and not objectionable as it delves on the culture, history and the Dang area and its people. He said that worst is that the outfit that distributed the CD is unrepentant.

"What you say is 100 percent correct," observed Justice Nariman but said that matter before the court is of 2005 and the Gujarat government has acted and banned the CD.

Counsel for Gujarat government Hemantika Wahi told the court that the state government banned the CD and it was confiscated.

Justice Kurian Joseph found the Gujarat position conflicting, asking that if what home secretary said was correct, then why was it banned. "If there was nothing objectionable then why was it banned," he asked.

Seeking to cap the issue as "matters like this create hatred and passions", the court disposed of the matter recording the statement by Wahi that the Gujarat government would take corrective, preventive and punitive steps to prevent such situations in future.


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