Not hate speech, says Supreme Court; stays proceedings against Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai

The alleged hate speech was during an interview on a YouTube channel in October 2022 with regard to bursting firecrackers.


Published Feb 26, 2024 | 4:12 PMUpdatedFeb 26, 2024 | 8:17 PM

Annamalai hate speech Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday, 26 February, stayed the proceedings in a criminal case lodged against Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai for allegedly delivering a hate speech against Christians.

The alleged hate speech was during an interview on a YouTube channel in October 2022 with regard to bursting firecrackers.

After perusing the transcript of the statements given in the interview, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta observed, “Prima facie, there is no hate speech. No case is made out.”

The bench issued a notice to the complainant, who accused Annamalai of delivering a hate speech against Christians in the interview on 22 October, 2022 with regard to the bursting of crackers, two days before Diwali.

Also Read: Madras HC refuses to quash summons to Tamil Nadu BJP chief Annamalai

Stays proceedings

  • The bench ordered to issue a notice returnable in the week commencing 29 April, 2024 and imposed a stay on further proceedings before the trial court.
  • Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra and advocate Sai Deepak represented Annamalai in court, arguing that the transcript of the interview presented to the bench showed it was not a case of hate speech.
  • Annamalai moved the Supreme Court to challenge a Madras High Court order that refused to quash the summons issued to him in the case.
  • The high court, on 8 February, refused to quash the summons, stating that the psychological impact on an individual or a group must be considered under the definition of hate speech.
  • The summons stemmed from a complaint filed by a man named V Piyush, based on an interview Annamalai gave to a YouTube channel.
  • The interview, lasting nearly 44.25 minutes, had a six-and-a-half-minute extract shared on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s X (then Twitter) handle on 22 October, 2022.
  • In the interview, Annamalai alleged the involvement of an internationally-funded Christian missionary NGO in destroying Hindu culture by filing cases in the Supreme Court to prevent Hindus from bursting crackers.
  • The high court found prima facie evidence of a divisive intent in Annamalai’s statements, portraying the NGO as acting against Hindu culture.

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