Article by Arghya Sengupta: The mere quarrel of the courts over hate speech will not work! – Courts of section 153a of hate speech cases should not only scold the article arghya sengupta

New Delhi: Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair is in jail for a tweet that hurt feelings. So many things are said. With the new revelations, some people say that this arrest is a perfectly appropriate step, while the other group is one of those who question this action. Arghya Sengupta, research director of the Vidhi Center for Legal Policy, has posed some questions while writing an article in our associated newspaper Times of India, referring to the functioning of the police and the courts. He writes that all it takes to arrest someone in India is that he has made a statement that is likely to lead to a violation of public peace. He wrote: “This low threshold (lower limit) is the reason for sending Mohammad Zubair behind bars.” His spontaneous tweet, based on a clip from a Hindi film that manipulated the word “Hanuman,” was related to the threat of breach of public peace.

More than 1800 arrests in one year
Although he is not the only person, according to the latest official data available for 2020, 1,834 people were arrested for similar statements and facts. Most people have posted on social media. It is natural that his arrest is to blame for the central government, speaking of the atmosphere of intolerance that prevails in the country. Sengupta says this situation is the culmination of the moral corruption of society that is reflected in our politics, our old colonial laws, the unprofessional methods of our police forces and the inertia of the judiciary, which is unable to be to the day of the times. .
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He says Indian criminal law has always been a collection of ban on vague words. Anyone who performs any act that causes “nuisance” (to cause harm or obstruction) to any member of the public is guilty of public nuisance. Anyone who makes a star fly in a “dangerous” way can be jailed for six months, while sending an “objectionable” message can be sentenced to three years in prison. Evidence of each of these crimes requires a professional police force that understands the intent of the provisions, can interpret them reasonably, and is smart enough to justify the criminalization of these facts. This is a difficult task. Things are getting worse in India as the police are expected to do so with inadequate training and very few resources.

1% spent on police training
According to the India Justice Report, only 1.1 per cent of total national spending on police in 2020 was in training, which is surprisingly low and reaches 8,000 rupees per police officer. Even when money is available, it is not spent. At least 50 percent of the modernization fund of the Ministry of Interior is not used.

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Without the proper training and technical resources, it is not surprising that the police see what is most convenient at the time of these statements. What is the next option if it comes to police excesses? Sengupta says police excesses can only be captured by an efficient and competent judiciary. But the Indian judicial system, especially at the district and taluka level, is nothing more than a well-functioning institution. We take the cases of Section 153A of the CPI, which penalizes statements and acts that promote enmity between religious groups or that disturb public peace: the rate of pending before the courts has been around 90% in the last five years. The police understand his relationship with the court.

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This is what is happening in the case of Zubair and in countless cases of this kind. A Sitapur court refused to grant bail and put him in police custody to recover his phone from Bangalore. The question the mind discovers is that how the mobile from which the tweet was made publicly available is significant evidence to justify continued imprisonment? Well, the police make similar requests, but better is expected from the court. But they do not and such cases continue to be filed and the process of navigating the criminal justice system becomes the punishment of the accused.

He writes that reprimanding Nupur Sharma and anyone else for such a statement without judging would be like a referee scolding a bowler for throwing a ball without a ball, the intention may be noble, but ultimately it is not his main job. . Finally, Sengupta writes that from 2014 to 2020, the number of cases registered under section 153A has increased by 436 percent.

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