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SC refuses to entertain PIL on hate speeches during polls

shish Tripathi
Last Updated : 23 May 2014, 21:00 IST
Last Updated : 23 May 2014, 21:00 IST
Last Updated : 23 May 2014, 21:00 IST
Last Updated : 23 May 2014, 21:00 IST

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The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a PIL seeking direction to the Election Commission to withdraw recognition of political parties and cancel nominations of those who made hate speeches during campaigning in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and A K Sikri said that those indulging in hate speeches could be handled under established laws so there was no need to allow a PIL in this regard.

The court dismissed the petition filed by Jafar Imam Naqvi, an advocate, who contended that speeches delivered by different political leaders had the potential to destroy social harmony and could also endanger safety and security of the public. 

He urged direction to the EC to take strong action in certain cases. The court, however, said that it could not enter the arena of election speeches delivered during campaigning. “A public interest litigation pertaining to speeches delivered during election campaign, we are afraid, cannot be put on the pedestal of a real public interest litigation. There are laws to take care of it. 

In the name of a constitutional safeguard entering into this kind of arena, in our convinced opinion, would not be within the constitutional parameters,” the bench said.

Relying upon different verdicts including the Vishakha guidelines, the petitioner contended that the Supreme Court being the guardian of the Constitution was obligated to issue notice, call for the response and issue appropriate directions.

Rejecting his plea, the court said, “The matter of handling hate speeches could be a matter of adjudication in an appropriate legal forum and may also have some impact in an election disputes raised under the Representation of People Act, 1951. 

Therefore, to entertain a petition as a public interest litigation and to give directions would be inappropriate.”

The court also said a PIL was initially used as a tool to take care of certain situations which concerned the poor and under-privileged who were not in a position to approach the court but it could not be extended to speeches made in electioneering. 

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Published 23 May 2014, 21:00 IST

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