• Jurisdiction for hate speech

Recently, I allegedly made hateful remarks against a certain religion to someone I know, who lives in India. I am a Canadian citizen, and when I made these remarks, I was physically in Canada, not in India. The other party was in India at the time. The remarks were made over a private Whatsapp call and via Facebook messenger (not on publicly viewable social. media posts) 


1) Is it possible for this person to file an FIR against me for hate speech in an Indian police station?

2) Would a court in India accept such a complaint?

Asked 6 days ago in Criminal Law
Religion: Hindu

7 answers received in 1 day.

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9 Answers

Section 153A of the IPC, which criminalizes the promotion of enmity between groups of people on grounds such as religion and race, place of birth, residence language, etc. and acts that are prejudicial to maintaining harmony prescribing the punishment in such cases which may be imprisonment up to five years and fine. 


2) The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly emphasized upon the need for a new law regulating online hate speech in India. Besides, several reports have been put forward by the expert Committees and the Law Commission of India proposing certain amendments in the present law


3) Section 66A  of the Information Technology Act, 2000 to penalize online hate speech. The provision was made applicable to “any information sent by means of a computer resource or communication device that is grossly offensive or menacing in character, or any information that the sender knows to be false but sends anyway, with the intent of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will”.44 However, the Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India struck down the said provision holding it unconstitutional. The Court first declared that freedom of speech available online deserves the same level of constitutional protection as the freedom of speech available offline 


4)  He can file FIR against you in india 

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
84384 Answers
5530 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. Yes he can, because as far as him, the cause of action took place at where he resides. 

2. Judicial magistrate court.

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
74484 Answers
1226 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

- Section 66A of the IT Act, prohibits the sending of offensive messages though a communication device, i.e. through an online medium.

- This covers, 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.

- The person who booked under Section 66A could face up to 3 years of imprisonment along with a fine.

1. Since, you have made over whatsapp call and via Facebook messenger , then its jurisdiction will be India , and he can lodge an FIR in India. 

2. Yes, 

Mohammed Shahzad
Advocate, Delhi
8182 Answers
86 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

To attract punishment under the Section 153A, it is not enough to use words calculated to produce enmity. What is required is that one should actually encourage such haterate/enmity by use of such words. Much depends on contents of remarks made. 

Ravi Shinde
Advocate, Hyderabad
1494 Answers
18 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

A case can be filed on Indian citizen for offence under Indian law in India even if he is outside india. But for cognisance of offence sanction from central government needs to be taken

Prashant Nayak
Advocate, Mumbai
24476 Answers
52 Consultations

4.4 on 5.0

1. The risk is very much there. Though certain Sections of the IT Act have been struck down by the Supreme Court, the police still misuse and abuse those provisions both out of ignorance and spite.

2. If such a complaint goes to court, the accused has to fend for himself.

In your own interest, it is better and saner not to indulge in spreading hate messages over the e-media even privately. Hatred breeds hatred. Sure, the Covid must have taught us all that we are one united world.

Swaminathan Neelakantan
Advocate, Coimbatore
1019 Answers
17 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

Dear client, 

FIR can not be filed and this does not fulfil the essentials of defamation under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. Also, courts will not accept it. 

Thank you

Anik Miu
Advocate, Bangalore
2729 Answers
27 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

1.The cause of action arose in Canada and you are a Canadian Citizen and Indian Court has no jurisdiction to try the matter in India. So, the FIR, if registered, will finally be rejected for want of jurisdiction.


2.No. It will not try the matter  for want of jurisdiction.

Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
26070 Answers
726 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Yes it is possible for this person to file an FIR against you in an Indian police station. An FIR is not a substantiave proof of information. the purpose of an FIR is to put law in motion. 

Yes, Court in India will accept such a complaint. A complaint case will culminate into an FIR. But the accused does not come in picture till summoning. In case of a complaint case, the proof of burden is on the complainant whereas in FIR the proof of burden is on the State.



Indu Verma
Advocate, Chandigarh
37 Answers
2 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

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