Sunday, July 16, 2017

Derogatory remarks about the Untouchables now punishable in India -- sort of

On 3 July, the Delhi High Court in a case ruled that posting of casteist insults on Facebook against members of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) community is punishable under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

In the case, a Rajput woman had allegedly posted derogatory remarks against the ‘Dhobi’ community on her Facebook wall. The high court quashed the complaint on grounds that for the 1989 act to apply, the insults must be directed against particular individual(s) of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) community and not the community as a whole.

The court, however, made an important observation that social media is a space within ‘public view’ and therefore, insults posted on a Facebook wall against specific individuals of the SC/ST community would attract criminal sanctions. The case highlights how social media is steadily becoming a platform for posting hate speech content.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is time India got serious on caste issues once and for all.