Regulation of Hate Speech
Ritika Patni & Kasturika Kaumudi*
Volume 2 Issue 4 (2009)
On March 7, 2009, Varun Gandhi, the great-grandson of India’s first prime-minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, also the potential Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, made disturbing remarks against a minority community in condemnable hate speech to polarise voters on communal basis and gain electoral leverage. Not only did the incident ignite violent protests and incur the wrath of the ElectionCommission, it also attracted several provisions of the election and criminal laws. Though the immediateimpetus for this article is the Varun Gandhi hate-speech controversy, the episode is merely a starting point for delving into a much larger debate on hate speech laws. Therefore, this article seeks to examine laws employed to combat hate speech and to determine if anti-hate speech laws can adequately regulate situations such as the Varun Gandhi episode, or if they require change.