Section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 prohibits the sending of offensive messages through a communication device (i.e. through an online medium). The types of information this covers are offensive messages of a menacing character, or a message that the sender knows to be false but is sent for the purpose of ‘causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will. If you’re booked under Section 66A, you could face up to 3 years of imprisonment along with a fine.
The court struck down Section 66A of the IT Act for being “open-ended, undefined, and vague”
Other laws under which hate speech is punishable are:
Section 153A of the Indian penal code which says that whoever
- by words, either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities
- commits any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquillity, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code says that whoever, with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either descripttion for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both.
I hope this solves your query.