Curbing hate speech may seem to be a good idea. However, it can end up promoting what it intends to curb.
Consider this: Hitler portrayed himself as defender of free speech!
pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the Canadian anti-hate law. Moreover, those laws were enforced with some vigour. During the 15 years before Hitler came to power, there were more than 200 prosecutions based on anti-Semitic speech. And, in the opinion of the leading Jewish organization of that era, no more than 10 per cent of the cases were mishandled by the authorities. As subsequent history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it.”
Inevitably, the Nazi party exploited the restrictions on “free speech” in order to boost its appeal. In 1925, the state of Bavaria issued an order banning Adolf Hitler from making any public speeches. The Nazis responded by distributing a drawing of their leader with his mouth gagged and the caption, “Of 2,000 million people in the world, one alone is forbidden to speak in Germany.” [Source]
Restricting ANY speech is a bad idea. But restricting hate speech can become very counter-productive for it can give a huge boost to these same extremists, who will now claim the mantle of martyrdom.
Best to let hate speech be vented – and totally ignored. Where there is no direct threat of violence, even the most hate-spewing fanatics should be allowed to spread their misguided views. Doing so has the advantage that someone will pin these fanatics through debate.
On the other hand, the moment any speech directly threatens (credible) violence, then the law must clamp down heavily and curb such attempted violence.
We need to take such a position even on speech relating to secession. There should be no barrier to open debate on secession. Votaries of secession should be engaged in public debate and refuted. If they have useful things to say (e.g. a demand for greater freedom), these useful suggestions should be implemented, thus neutralising their demand for secession.
In sum, we need ABSOLUTE freedom of speech in India, with no restrictions even for hate speech.
(I'm excluding disclosure of defence secrets here, unless such secrets relate to corruption and misuse of power.)
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