Controlling Hate Speech on the Internet: The Indian Perspective

10 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016

See all articles by Ketan Modh

Ketan Modh

Leiden Law School; National Law University Jodhpur (NLUJ)

Date Written: October 12, 2015


Hate speech, or inflammatory speech, has always resulted in censorship throughout history. The definition of hate speech has been ambiguous, but usually narrow and tailored to the interests of the ruling power of the state. The definitions of “hate speech” typically depend on the cultural and moral ethos of any society; when societies have been well-defined, for example through geography, it was relatively easier to reach a consensus on such a definition. This was because that definition would only be enforced in a certain area by an enforcing authority that was known and respected, or feared, by everyone in that area. The rise of the internet, a global means of communication, has stripped away such geographical boundaries. While this has led to rapid technological growth through the cooperation of people from all over the world, it has also set up very peculiar questions of law and its enforcement. The very definition of “hate speech”, already ambiguous, was made even more so when made applicable to anything written on the internet, since it could be created by anyone, anywhere in the world, posted to a server anywhere in the world, and be accessed by (or targeted at) anyone, anywhere in the world. This paper seeks to identify a possible solution to this conundrum within the specific context of India.

Keywords: Hate Speech, Constitution, Internet, Fundamental Rights, Human Rights, Inflammatory Content, Digital Rights, Free Speech

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Modh, Ketan, Controlling Hate Speech on the Internet: The Indian Perspective (October 12, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Ketan Modh (Contact Author)

Leiden Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 9520
2300 RA Leiden, NL-2300RA

National Law University Jodhpur (NLUJ) ( email )

NH-65, Nagaur Road, Mandore
Jodhpur, 342001

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