New Delhi, March 3: The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a ban on “hate speeches” in the run-up to the general election, saying all shades of public opinion should come out unrestricted.
The court said that since India is a mature democracy, it would be appropriate if the opinion of all its 128 crore people was left unrestricted.
“What type of mandamus (directive) can we issue? We are a mature democracy. We are now a country of 128 crore people. How can we impose any restrictions?” the bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and Dipak Misra observed.
“Let all shades of opinion come. Let the opinion of 128 crore come out in the open. Let the people decide it.”
The court passed the observation while dismissing the PIL filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, who sought a ban on all “hate speeches” saying political leaders were spewing inflammatory talk with impunity.
He sought a direction to the Election Commission to debar such candidates from contesting.
Sharma cited the instance of certain allegations of corruption against Rahul Gandhi that he claimed were false.
While dismissing the petition, Justice Lodha asked: “Article 32 is intended to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. It is not meant for destroying it. (Do) you want us to destroy it?”
Under Article 32, any person can move the apex court to enforce his or her fundamental rights.
The Supreme Court today declined to entertain a PIL seeking to end the special privileges granted to Dalits and tribals.
Manjit Singh Sachdeva had claimed these communities had made considerable progress in the past five decades, furnishing what he said were “interesting statistics” in support of his contention that they no longer needed reservation benefits.
“We appreciate the statement made by you but we cannot pass any directions,” the bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
“It is for the government and the legislature to take a decision. If they want they can amend the Constitution, but we cannot pass any directions on the basis of one single statistics furnished by you.”