Social Media: Prospect and Challenges

Centre plans law on online hate speech


Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Law Commission, Section 66A of IT Act, 267th report of the Law Commission, Bezbaruah Committee

Mains level: Ill effects of social media

A distinct law for online “hate speech”

  1. The Home Ministry has written to the Law Commission to prepare a draft law for framing a distinct law for online hate speech
  2. The provisions will deal with offensive messages sent through social media and online messaging applications

Why this move?

  1. The decision came after a committee headed by former Lok Sabha Secretary General T.K. Viswanathan submitted a report recommending stricter laws to curb online hate speech
  2. The panel was formed after Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, was scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2015
  3. The scrapped provision provided punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services
  4. The 267th report of the Law Commission had recommended inserting additional provisions in Sections 153 & 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Proposed amendment

  1. The proposed 153 C (b) IPC —‘incitement to hatred,’ recommended that the crime be punishable by two years imprisonment and ₹5,000 fine or both
  2. The proposed amendment section 153 C IPC (promoting or attempting to promote acts prejudicial to human dignity) would be punishable by five years and fine or both
  3. Section 509 A IPC (word, gesture or act intended to insult member of a particular race) would be punishable by three years or fine or both

Bezbaruah Committee

  1. The Bezbaruah Committee was constituted by the Centre in February 2014 in the wake of a series of racial attacks on persons belonging to the northeast
  2. The committee had proposed to insert two stricter anti-racial discrimination provisions in the IPC
  3. Only four States Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh and three union territories — Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshwadeep agreed to the Centre’s proposal


Law Commission of India

  1. Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India
  2. Its major function is to work for legal reform
  3. Its membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government
  4. The terms of reference of the Law Commission include the review and repeal of obsolete laws, the examination of existing laws & the revision of central Acts of general importance
  5. The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice
  6. The first Law Commission was established during the British Raj era in 1834 by the Charter Act of 1833

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