Hate Crimes: Current Laws and Need for New Guidelines


The Indian sub-continent is witnessing a explosive rise within the incidents of hate crimes in modern times. Incidents beneath this typically involve violence against a private or a bunch, of a selected group of people , by mobs, chiefly on non secular matters, that produce turmoil within the overall social organization. intended by hate and biased mentality hate crimes are typically aimed toward giving a message to a selected cluster of society to introduce in them worry and create an announcement

According to the Organization on Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE). Hate crimes are criminal acts committed with a biased motive. conjointly referred to as a “bias-motivated crime” or “bias crime” they’re not outlined as a legal offence however they occur once a offender targets a victim of a specific grouping.

Hate crime refers to criminal acts that are impelled by biasness against a private or grouping attributable to bound variations, majorly in their non secular practices and customs. In modern times its meaning has proliferated on the far side murder, discrimination and offensive speeches and currently encompasses speech that’s insulting, derogative or incites and violence. All of this ends up in worrisome harmony and order in society at giant. It affects its victims drastically and that chillingly affects him/her each mentally and physically, leading to his/her mental and physical dilapidation.

To determine whether or not a criminal offense could be a hate crime or bias crime, the motivation behind the act is to be taken into consideration. A hate crime is often actuated, by bias or hate of an individual or grouping against another person or grouping due to variations arising out of race, religion, ethnicity, customs, practices and also the like. It’s a psychological and emotional impact that extends the way on the far side of the victim. Attacks that actually supported such biases conjointly undermine the person’s rights given to him by virtue of being born as an Indian national.

Thus, in totality Hate Crimes might be outlined as an  attack on a person’s rights entrusted to him thereby affecting not solely him but  the social system as an entire that in some ways makes it more heinous than several different Criminal Offences.

Nature of Hate Crime

  1. Hate Crimes although totally different in nature are often supported against the law that is penal and thus imposes some type of penalisation. This makes hate crime AN offence below the domestic legal code and enunciates its criminalism.
  2. A hate crime is often impelled by biases. It is only if there’s a bias that a criminal act forms into a hate crime. The issue to be ascertained is that the choice of a victim supported prejudice based mostly upon his faith, community, gender and therefore the like.
  3. In the case of Hate crimes, the target is often a private or a bunch of people with common characteristics that square measure noticeable and end up in the variations and biases.
  4. Hate crimes have a varied degree of occurrences that ranges from rascality to physical abuse and even generally killing. The gravity of hate crimes is predicated upon the brutality and cruelty to which they amounted and its result on society as full.

Hate Crime and Prevailing Law in India

The Constitution of India and its hate speech laws aim to stop discord among its several ethnic and non secular communities. The laws permit a national to hunt the penalization of anyone who shows the national disrespect “on grounds of faith, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or the other ground whatsoever”. The laws specifically forbid anyone from outraging someone’s “religious feelings”.

The Constitution of India doesn’t give a state religion.

Article 25(1) states, Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions, all persons are  equally entitled to freedom of conscience and also the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion“.[1]

Article 19 entitles all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression however subject to “reasonable restrictions” for conserving  “public order, decency or morality“.[2]

Article 28 prohibits any spiritual instruction in any establishment completely maintained out of state funds.[3]

India prohibits hate speech by several sections of its penal code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and by alternative laws it places limitations on the liberty of expression.  Section 95 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that wherever any newspaper, book or any document contains any matter, the publication of that is punishable below Section 124-A, 153-A, 153-B, 292, 293 or 295-A of Indian  Penal Code, 1860, the authorities might, by notification stating the explanations for such action, declare each copy of such newspaper, book, or document, to be confiscate to the govt.[4]

Following this, there are a plethora of laws for instance, The Representation of People Act[5] , Information Technology Act[6] , Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 , Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955  ; Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1980; The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989; The National Security Act, 1980 ; Sections ,107, 144, 151, 160 of Criminal Procedure Code.

Relatable Instances

The year 2017 recorded the highest death toll and the most number of incidents regarding the hate crime. In  April 2017 in Rajasthan: Pehlu Khan along with a group of six men were returning home after purchasing two milch cows when they were attacked by gau rakshaks despite producing legal documents of purchase . They were said to be the other five were then beaten and had to be hospitalised. Of these, Pehlu Khan  died at a hospital in Alwar district two days later.

Videos of the incident were circulated on social media. Later, the Rajasthan police arrested six suspects identified by Khan. The accused were later released in September, 2017 when the police closed investigations claiming none of these men were present at the time of the attack[7]

In June, 2017 just three days before Eid Junnaid Khan along with his brother went to offer Namaz at masjid on their way back to home junaid was stabbed to death merely over a small scuffle over a seat. The attackers taunted them by using the term “ mulla”, “anti nationals” and “ beef- eaters” . His brother alleged that none of the passengers came to their rescue instead they asked those attackers to  kill both of them . A week after the crime the Haryana police arrested four persons in connection to the crime, but none of them have been convicted yet.

Junaid’s death led to protests in London, New York and many Indian cities against the government’s slow response and silence after nationwide attacks against mostly Muslims and Dalits.

Recent examples of Hate Speech can be seen in the case of Republic TV editor-in-chief and anchor Arnab Goswami where the bench of D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah Justices had set aside Goswami’s plea that all hate speech cases against him be quashed, and allowed the Maharashtra police to proceed with investigations into one of the FIRs filed. The court also said no coercive action should be taken against Goswami for the next three weeks, so he has time to apply for anticipatory bail.[8]

Need of new legislation to counter hate crime

The notion of prejudice-motivated violence isn’t new to India and maybe it had been  acknowledgement of this reality that the Constitution of India not only  self-addressed the historical wrong of untouchability since its inception  by declaring all practices of discrimination supported untouchability. as constitutionally illegitimate, however during a outstanding effort, for the primary time within the history of constitutional moments round the world, enacted a “constitutional criminal law”.

The nature and quality of intolerance- primarily based violence has modified over the years and nowadays it’s become thus pervasive and omnipresent that it looks too routine to need thought. Within the past few years, there has been a reportage of alarming increase within the incidences of violent crimes driven by deep sitting non secular or ideologic hate against the members of sure communities.

Thus , in order to curb all these practices , in order to low down the death rates of people it is a strict need of an hour to enact new legislation to counter hate crime  every citizen irrespective of his caste , creed or color living in India has a right to carry and flourish out its religion with dignity subject to the reasonable restrictions



[1] The Constitution Of India Article 25

[2] The Constitution Of India Article 19(1) and19(2)

[3] The Constitution Of India Article 28

[4] R.V. Kelkar’s Criminal Procedure Code, 6th Edition

[5] The Representation of People Act, 1951 (Act 43 of 1951), ss. 8, 123(3A), 125

[6] Information Technology Act, 2000 (Act 21 of 2000), ss. 69, 69A.

[7] Hindustan Times report from 14 September, 2017

[8] https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates

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