BJP leaders top list; ADR report calls for stringent action before and after polls


As the demand for stringent punishment — including debarring politicians who make hate speeches from contesting elections — gathers steam, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has come up with details of sitting MPs and MLAs who have declared cases related to hate speech in their election affidavits.

According to the ADR data, 58 MPs and MLAs have declared that such cases are pending against them.

These include Cabinet Minister Uma Bharti, BJP veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and AUDF founder and MP Badruddin Ajmal.

Fifteen sitting Lok Sabha MPs have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves, while none of their Rajya Sabha colleagues do so.

Out of the 15 MPs, 10 are from the BJP while one each is from the AIUDF, TRS, PMK, AIMIM and Shiv Sena.

Forty-three sitting MLAs have declared such cases, of which 17 are from the BJP.

Five MLAs each are from the TRS and AIMIM, three are from TDP, two each from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, JD(U) and Shiv Sena and one each from DMK, BSP and SP along with two independent MLAs.

Denying ticket

“Political parties must not give tickets to candidates who have declared serious criminal cases against themselves. Cases against MPs and MLAs should be fast-tracked and decided upon in a time-bound manner,” ADR said in its recommendations.

In the last five years, 198 candidates with declared cases related to hate speech have contested elections for State assemblies, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

ADR said the Law Commission, in its report submitted last year, had stated that hate speech has not been defined in any law in India.

“However, legal provisions in certain legislations prohibit select forms of speech as an exception to freedom of speech. The term ‘Hate Speech’ has been used invariably to mean expression which is abusive, insulting, intimidating, harassing or which incites violence, hatred or discrimination against groups identified by characteristics such as one’s race, religion, place of birth, residence, region, language, caste or community, sexual orientation or personal convictions,” the ADR’s release said quoting the Law Commission.

“ADR believes that strict action must be taken against the candidates giving hate speech prior and during the elections, and against the elected legislators even after the elections, if found guilty of indulging in ‘Hate Speech’,” it said.

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