The BJP-led government has recommended prosecuting BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for promoting religious intolerance between Hindus and Muslims in a book he has written.
In a strong-worded affidavit, the Home Ministry claimed that the book 'Terrorism in India' which was published in 2006, violated the rules of hate speech.
"The book promotes feelings of hatred and enmity between Hindus and Muslim, hence it should be taken into account. Therefore, the petitioner has violated sections of the Indian Penal Code", the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
In simple terms, hate speech refers to forbidden speech, gestures, conduct or writing that may hurt the religious sentiments or promote acts of violence by a group of people irrespective of race, caste, religion.
Swamy has challenged the hate speech law. He also countered the validity of the various sections under the IPC law.
As a counter argument, the senior BJP leader had earlier said that a person should not be prosecuted for expressing his/her views if there are no violent consequences or reactions within a reasonable time-frame, Indian Express reported.
However, the Centre responded that the validity of the penal provision cannot be questioned. The Indian Constitution allows reasonable restrictions to a citizen's right to freedom of speech and expression, but the provisions are meant to maintain harmony and peace in the society, the Centre further added, according to a TOI report.
The centre has opposed Swamy's plea. "The provisions are very clear. They are neither very widely worded nor indefinite", the report stated.
Swamy, who is known to be a strong defender of the Modi government, has said that he would speak to the Prime Minister and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, NDTV reported.
"Someone from the party might have got hold of an under-secretary to file the affidavit", Swamy said.