Saturday, 10 May 2014

Justice (Dr) BS Chauhan Delivers Dr Anandswarup Gupta Memorial Lecture Adequate Laws to Tackle Hate Speeches and Effective Execution Need of Hour, says Justice Chauhan

Addressing the Dr Anandswarup Gupta Memorial Lecture on "Freedom of Expression and Hate Speech: Role of Police and Civil Society" here last evening, Justice (Dr) BS Chauhan said the legislations available already have sufficient and effective remedy for prosecution of the author who indulges in hate speeches and similar practices. 

The statutory provisions and particularly the penal law provide sufficient remedy to curb the menace of 'hate speeches'. Thus, a person aggrieved must resort to the remedy provided under a particular statute. 

The root of the problem is not absence of laws but rather a lack of their effective execution, the Supreme Court judge said in his keynote address at the event organised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). Justice Chauhan said the executive as well as civil society has to perform its role in enforcing the already existing legal regime. 

"Effective regulation of hate speeches at all levels is required as the authors of such speeches can be booked under the existing penal law and all the law enforcing agencies/police must ensure that the existing law is not rendered a dead letter," he said. 

Justice Chauhan expressed concern and said that he finds lack of vigilance on the part of "state actors" in the protection of human rights saying this resulted in the increased prominence on the part of "non-state actors" in protection of the human rights. The expression non-state actors include NGOs, multinationals, armed groups, educational institutions, religious organisations, private individuals, the media and multilateral financial institutions like IMF and the World Bank," he said. Justice Chauhan said efforts of such "non-state actors" in protecting freedom of speech and expression are commendable and their openness in criticising the unnecessary restrictions on this right has been rewarding. 

He lauded the role of media on this issue saying "the press has repeatedly played the role of a 'social scientist', a critic, evaluator of plans and schemes by providing thoughts and ideas, helped the poor and weaker sections of the society to have access to justice, dispensation of social justice by various means and correcting arbitrary power of executive." Moreover, he said, the press has also helped in maintenance of rule of law. 

Lauding Justice Chauhan for being the first sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India to have delivered the Dr. Anandswarup Gupta Memorial Lecture, Director General, BPR&D Sh. Rajan Gupta said the theme of the lecture this year on Hate Speech is very apt and appropriate in view of the radicalization and polarization of the populace. Shri Gupta said that though the law makes adequate provisions to deal with the hate speeches, the problem is not one which can be tackled at the level of the law alone. 

“It is a greater social problem and society has onerous responsibility to curb this growing tendency before it assumes huge proportion and tears the fabric of peace and tranquility in the society. In a democratic polity, which is founded on the bedrock of rule of law, maintenance of peace and order, safety and tranquillity of the community assumes paramount importance. Under the Constitution of India, the Union and States have well defined areas of responsibility but Public Order and police are essentially the responsibilities of State Governments,” Shri Gupta said. 

Rolling out the BPR&D’s achievements, Shri Gupta said the Bureau is in the process of setting-up a Central Academy for Police Training in Bhopal for training Deputy Superintendents of Police officers of the State and other ranks. Besides, two new institutions, i.e., National Institute for Coastal Policing and National Institute for Traffic Management and Research are also in the project stage. 

On the occasion, ten officers/officials of BPR&D were conferred with the Police Medal and President Police Medal for meritorious and distinguished service in recognition of their effort and contribution towards Bureau. The winners included S/Shri Shiv Pal Singh Verma, Dr. PVK Prasad, Shri Yogesh Kumar Sharma, Shri Diwakar Sharma, Shri Harjeet Singh, Shri Anil Kumar Nair, Shri Kishan Lal, Shri M. K. Khanna, Shri S. K. Dangwal amd Shri Bharat Singh. 

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