Law To Deal With Internet Hate Speech

The Home Ministry is examining a report given by a high-level committee formed to propose new laws or amendments to deal with hate speech on the internet, people familiar with the matter said.

The committee, headed by TK Viswanathan who served as director of ADR, ICADR and as Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, has submitted a report to the Home Ministry recently, the people said.

The committee was formed after the Supreme Court struck down section 66A of the Information Technology Act.

Considering the growing menace of hate speech and abuse on the internet in the absence of the provision, the committee was reportedly set up to propose new laws and amendments in existing laws and is understood to have suggested that section 78 of the IT Act needs to be substituted and Section 153 and 505A of the Indian Penal Code need to be amended

It said that Section 78 primarily dealt with capacity building and needs to be relooked at with a view to sensitising law enforcement agency officers.
Under it, a police officer of the rank of inspector or above was empowered to investigate offences.

In its report, which relied on the 267th report of the Law Commission of India and international legislation, the committee has recommended that each state should have a State Cyber Crime Coordinator which should be an officer not below the rank of Inspector General of Police.

The committee has also suggested that each district have a District Cyber Crime Cell headed by an officer, not below the rank of sub-inspector.

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