"Why is the government remaining a mute spectator?" a Supreme Court bench remarked while hearing a batch of petitions against incidents of hate speech in the country on Wednesday, 21 September.
The bench, constituting of KM Joseph and Hrishikseh Roy, also pulled up television anchors for providing a platform to hate speech, stressing that they should regulate guest speakers.
"Role of anchor is very important. These speeches on mainstream media or social media that is unregulated. Mainstream TV channels still hold sway. The role of anchor is critical. It is their duty to see that hate speech doesn't happen," Justice Joseph remarked, Bar and Bench quoted.
The SC went on cite an instance from the United Kingdom, when a TV channel fined heavily for platforming hate.
"One channel was fined heavily in UK. We don't have that here. They are not being dealt with firmly. They can be taken off air, fined, if such sanction comes," the court was quoted as saying.
'Politicians Benefit Most From Hate Speech': SC
The apex court added that politicians benefit the most out such instances, with Senior Counsel Sanjay Hegde reiterating and saying, "channels and politicians feed on such speech. Channels get money. They keep ten people in debates."
Justice Jospeh added, "We cannot give hate any air."
The case has been posted for further consideration on 23 November, and the central government is directed to file a counter-affidavit combining the State's inputs.
(With inputs from Bar and Bench.)
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