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[Hate speech] Who made speech matters; Catholic priest cannot get same protection as stand up comedians: Madras High Court

Thus when stand-up comedians like Munawar Faruqui or Alexander Babu poke fun at others, their religious identity might be irrelevant since there is no malice, but the same benefit cannot be extended to a catholic priest deriding Hindu religious beliefs, the Court said.

When stand-up comedians Munawar Faruqui or Alexander Babu perform on stage, they are exercising their fundamental right to poke fun at others. Again, their religious identity is irrelevant. It is here, the “Who?” and “Where?” tests matter. Section 295A of IPC cannot be invoked in such cases because the element of malice is wholly absent,” the Court said.

Justice GR Swaminathan, therefore, held that a speech made by a catholic priest prima facie outraged religious feelings of Hindus and promoted religious enmity and refused to quash the offences under Sections 295A, 153A [promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion] [outrage religious feelings], 505(2) [Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes] of the Indian Penal Code against him.

Source: Barandbench

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