Delhi HC: Speech not Illegal, if Spoken Smilingly with no intention to Spread Hatred

Delhi High Court Law Insider

Khushi Doshi

Published on: March 26, 2022 at 12:10 IST

In a case involving alleged hate speeches linked to the Northeast Delhi Riots, the Delhi High Court said on Friday that a speech given while in an Election is different from one given during ordinary times, and that sometimes things are said to create a ‘mahaul’ (atmosphere) without the specific intent of doing so.

According to Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, if anything is spoken with a smile, there is no criminality; nevertheless, if something is uttered offensively, there may be criminality.

The Court was hearing CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat’s plea against a lower Court judgement that denied a request to register a FIR against Union Minister Anurag Thakur and MP Parvesh Verma for alleged hate speech.

“Was that an Election speech or speech in ordinary time? If any speech is given during Election, then it’s a different thing.

If you’re giving a speech in the ordinary course, then it is instigating something,” said the Court, adding,

“If you’re saying something with a smile then there is no criminality, if you’re saying something offensively, then criminality Because we are also in democratic … you also have the right to speech and all these things.,” said the Bench.

The Court has reserved its verdict in the Case.

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