What is Law on hate crimes in India

India doesn’t have a specific law that’s titled as a “hate crime” law. However, various provisions under different laws in the country address activities that could be considered as hate crimes.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other legislation like the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, have provisions that deal with crimes that can be classified as hate crimes.

Section 153A of the IPC makes promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, a punishable offense.

Section 295A of the IPC pertains to deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

Section 298 of the IPC deals with the uttering of words etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person.

The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, aims to eliminate untouchability and to punish those who practice it. It makes it a punishable offense to force individuals from the untouchable caste to perform any “forced or bonded labor”.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, aims to prevent atrocities against members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes.

However, India’s legal approach towards hate crimes has been criticized for not being comprehensive enough, as these laws don’t address all forms of hate crimes. For instance, hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status aren’t specifically addressed in these laws.

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