Hate Speech against Dalits on Social Media: Would a Penny Sparrow be Prosecuted in India for Online Hate Speech?

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Devanshu Sajlan

Abstract

This article analyzes the Indian hate speech law from the perspective of social media. Recent research shows extensive use of caste-based hate speech on Facebook, including derogatory references to caste-based occupations such as manual scavenging. This article attempts to examine whether the Scheduled castes / Scheduled Tribes (SC / ST) Prevention of Atrocities Act is equipped to deal with online hate speech against Dalits. The jurisprudence around the applicability of Atrocities Act to caste-based hate speech has been analyzed. After the said analysis, the applicability of ‘International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)’ to caste- based discrimination has been studied. Thereafter, the standard of proof for prosecuting hate speech under Indian domestic law has been compared with ICERD to analyze whether Indian domestic law is in compliance with international standards. The article further analyzes whether caste-based hate speech ought to be regulated only when there is incitement to violence or hatred, or it can also be regulated when it violates the right to dignity of Dalits. At the same time, the article also briefly examines whether such prosecution would be in violation of global free-speech standards.

Article Details

How to Cite
Sajlan, D. (2021). Hate Speech against Dalits on Social Media: Would a Penny Sparrow be Prosecuted in India for Online Hate Speech?. CASTE / A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, 2(1), 77-96. https://doi.org/10.26812/caste.v2i1.260
Section
Research Articles
Author Biography

Devanshu Sajlan, Delhi Judicial Services

Metropolitan Magistrate/ Civil Judge, Delhi Judicial Services