white black legal international law journal ISSN: 2581-8503

Peer-Reviewed Journal | Indexed at Manupatra, HeinOnline, Google Scholar & ROAD



“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.[2]”

– Nelson Mandela (1994)

Authored By-Nehal Singh


A hate crime, also known as a bias crime, is a criminal offence committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin. There is no legally agreed-upon definition of a hate crime, but this is the most popular and widely accepted definition. While other subtle ways do exist, it tends to be aggressive. In this type of crime, the victim is singled out as a representative of the group he or she is thought to belong to or represent. Numerous nations around the world experience this in one way or another. India is also no different. There is currently no law that specifically addresses hate crimes, but there are laws that deal with them, such as IPC Sec. 153, 153-A, 295-A, and 298 that deal with hate speech and fostering animosity between groups, respectively. There is no law that specifically addresses mob lynchings.



A perpetrator targets a victim because of their membership (or perceived membership) in a particular social group or racial demographic. This is known as a hate crime (also known as a bias-motivated crime or bias crime)[3]. "Hate crimes" are essentially crimes that target a person because of their handicap, colour or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or transgender identity in a hostile and biased manner. Hate crimes are defined as crimes committed out of prejudice towards a person or social group due to differences, most notably in their religious practices and customs.

In modern times, its definition has expanded to include speech that is disrespectful, disparaging, or that calls for violence in addition to lynching, discrimination, and offensive remarks. Overall, a hate crime is an assault on the rights that have been entrusted to the victim, which affects not only the victim but also the societal system as a whole, making it more severe than many other criminal offences. The most typical bases for hate speech are racial, ethnic, religious, or social class. A law designed to prevent bias-based violence is known as a hate crime statute[4]. Laws against hate speech are different from those against hate crimes because hate speech laws penalize a specific type of speech, whereas hate crime laws strengthen the penalty for behavior that is already illegal under other laws.


In the United States, the phrase "hate crime" first became widely used in the 1980s, but it is frequently used retroactively to incidents that took place before then[5].  Hate crimes were committed by people and governments long before the word "hate crime" became widely used, from the Roman persecution of Christians to the Nazi killing of Jews. Determining that crimes have been committed against members of historically disadvantaged groups is a crucial component in classifying them as hate crimes[6]. Indigenous peoples in the colonised territories, such as Native

Americans, were increasingly the focus of bias-based intimidation and violence as Europeans started to colonies the world starting in the 16th century.[7] Assaults on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people; the painting of swastikas on Jewish synagogues; and prejudiced responses are typical examples of hate crimes that have occurred in the United States over the past two centuries. Lynchings of African Americans, primarily in the South, and of Mexicans and Chinese in the West.[8]

Charles Lynch, a Virginia Quaker who lived in the 18th century, is credited with inventing the word "to lynch." Lynch, other militia officers, and justices of the peace picked up supporters of the Tories, who were then given a hasty trial in a makeshift court and sentenced to things like whipping, property confiscation, compelled oaths of allegiance, and military enlistment. The phrase originally referred to organized, extralegal punishment of convicts without a court order. Later, it came to mean executions carried out without following "ordinary justice." It is closely linked to instances of police power being weak or nonexistent, like in some frontier areas of the Old West, and white persecution of African Americans in the South[9].

The psychological effects of hate crimes can be profound and far-reaching, not just for the individuals who are directly affected but also for others. Lesbian and homosexual victims of violent hate crimes were shown to have higher levels of psychological distress, including symptoms of sadness and anxiety, than lesbian and gay victims of comparable crimes not motivated by anti-gay prejudice, according to a 1999 U.S. study.[10]

More psychological discomfort is more likely to be felt by victims of violent hate crimes than by victims of other violent crimes. Specifically, those who are the victims of bias-motivated crimes are more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder, safety concerns, sadness, anxiety, and rage than those who aren't. Hate crimes victimize the entire group and reduce feelings of safety and security by sending messages to members of the victim's group that they are not welcome and safe in the community[11].

Furthermore, experiencing psychological anguish and a decline in self-esteem might result from seeing prejudice towards one's own group.[12]

Although the phrase "hate crime" is used in a variety of contexts, fields, and settings, it may come as a surprise that there isn't a common understanding of the term. Because of this, even within practise silos, disagreements amongst academics, legislators, and policymakers might arise while debating the problem. According to some, a "hate crime" is a phenomenon that encompasses a wide range of hostilities directed at minority communities generally, including what would be deemed criminal acts from a legal standpoint, discrimination, hate speech, and microaggressions. Others view the phrase "hate crime" as a limited concept that solely applies to illegal activities.


Although the phrase "hate crime" is used in a variety of contexts, fields, and settings, it may come as a surprise that there isn't a common understanding of the term. Because of this, even within practice silos, disagreements amongst academics, legislators, and policymakers might arise while debating the problem. According to some, a "hate crime" is a phenomenon that encompasses a wide range of hostilities directed at minority communities generally, including what would be deemed criminal acts from a legal standpoint, discrimination, hate speech, and microaggressions. Others view the phrase "hate crime" as a limited concept that solely applies to illegal activities. A crime does not always have to be committed for biassed reasons. In a robbery of a disabled person who is seen as an easy target due to their impairment, seeking financial gain can combine with bigotry. The victim may also be the target of the perpetrator due to more than one protected trait. For example, a Muslim lady may have her headscarf torn off while being subjected to sexist, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim abuse.

What Constitutes A Hate Crime?

Bias indicators are one or more factors that raise the possibility that a crime was done out of bias. They offer impartial standards to assess the likely motivation. A tool for the initial detection of possible hate crime situations is bias indicators. Police and prosecutors should utilize them to determine whether and how to look into the perpetrator's motivations further. Bias indicators by themselves do not establish that the offender's conduct was biased: Evidence must be provided in court for that.

Many of the bias indications in this no exhaustive list, as well as others, may be present in a case.

1.Victim/Witness Perception: Did the victim or any witnesses think that the occurrence was biased in some way?

2.Comments, written declarations, hand motions, or graffiti: Was the victim's community the subject of any remarks, writings, or gestures from the suspect?

-Were there any doodles, scribbles, symbols, or graffiti at the scene of the incident?

3. Differences in Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Culture: Do the victim and suspect have different racial, religious, ethnic, or national backgrounds or sexual orientations?

-Does the victim's group and the suspect's group have a history of hostility?

-In the region where the assault took place, does the victim belong to a group that is vastly outnumbered by members of another group?

-Was the victim marketing his or her organization at the time of the incident?

4. Hateful organisations

-Were there any signs or evidence at the site that would indicate a nationalist or hate group committed the crime?

-Are there any signs—such as flyers, graffiti, or posters—that this group is active in the area?

5. Hateful organisations: Were there any signs or evidence at the site that would indicate a nationalist or hate group committed the crime?

-Are there any signs—such as flyers, graffiti, or posters—that this group is active in the area?

Bias crimes and incidents in the past

6.Has the same area seen any other incidences like this? The victims were who?

Has the victim experienced verbal abuse, harassing phone calls, or unwanted mail because they belong to or are affiliated with a certain group?
7. Timing and Place: Was the victim in or close to a location that was frequently used by or associated with a specific group (such as a community center, mosque, church, or other place of worship)?

-Was there any property that was targeted, such as a historical monument or a cemetery, that had a religious or cultural significance?

-Did the incident take place on a day that held special significance (such as a national holiday or religious holiday).

The FBI reported 7,145 hate crimes in 2017[13], but as the majority of hate crimes go unreported, the true prevalence is likely to be higher. Hostility based on race/ethnicity (58.1%), religion (22.0%), sexual orientation (15.9%), gender identity (0.6%), and disability were the main drivers of reported hate crimes in 2017. (1.6 percent). Jewish, African-American, and LGBT groups were frequently the targets of hate crimes[14].

Hate crimes affect more people than the majority of other types of crimes. Victims of hate crimes include not just the immediate victim but also people who share their characteristics. Hate crimes have tremendous impact on families, communities, and occasionally the entire country. Hate crimes are the crimes which have to dealt with care but also diligently to set an example and grow towards a peaceful society.

To demonstrate just how serious this issue is, the following statistics are provided:

In England and Wales, there were 103,379 hate crimes reported by the police in 2018–19, an increase of 10% from 2017–18. (94,121 offences).

Race-Related Hate Crimes:

RACE-RELATED HATE CRIMES MADE UP AROUND 76% OF OFFENSES (78,991 OFFENSES) OF HATE CRIMES. In the year between 2017/18 and 2018/19, these rose by 11%.
Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation increased by 25%. (To 14,491 offences).
Hate crimes against religion went up by 3%. (To 8,566 offences).
Disability-related hate crimes rose by 14%. (To 8,256 offences).
Lastly, hate crimes against transgender people rose by 37%. (To 2,333 offences).

Hate Crime In India

Instead of focusing on an individual's right to freedom of speech and expression or the harm brought about by hate speech, India defines hate crime in terms of the harm brought about to the community at large. Hate speech that is based on a person's race, religion, or ethnicity is forbidden in India. Due to the variety of forms, it can take, hate speech is neither defined by Indian law nor is it simply comprehensible when reduced to a single term. For a while now, it has been difficult to define hate crimes. There is no universally agreed-upon definition, however a few are frequently taken into consideration. Hate crimes are offences that are at least partially motivated by bigotry, prejudice, or animosity based on the victim's identify features based on groups[15]. The FBI's definition, "criminal offence against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or other characteristic," is the one that is most frequently used in the USA, gender identification[16]. It is clear from these criteria that the person who commits a hate crime is driven by a hatred that results from particular prejudices and personal biases. In this case, the victim is viewed as a representative of a particular group of individuals who share a certain shared identity rather than as a unique individual. This is precisely one of the factors that makes hate crimes difficult to identify because the hatred is not directed at the victim but rather at the victim's identity. Here, it's important to consider whether all crimes motivated by hatred qualify as hate crimes.

If prejudice is broadly defined, we may categories every incident in which the victim and the offender come from different groups because everyone will harbor some warped opinions[17]. Not all criminal activity qualifies as a hate crime. Only those actions that are primarily motivated by hatred and in which that hatred assumes a dynamic racial, political, intellectual, and cultural character are considered hate crimes[18].

The distinction between ordinary crimes and hate crimes is another important issue that requires a solution. The presence of both the mental and physical elements is necessary for hate crimes to qualify as crimes, just like it is for more common crimes like murder, theft, assault, and the like. The mental state needed to perform the crime is known as intent, also known as mens rea, and the physical act, also known as Actus reus, is the action that was used to commit the crime, such as firing a gun. When it comes to criminal processes, motive does not significantly factor in. It strengthens an accused person's guilt or innocence[19]. But when it comes to the topic of hate crimes, the prosecutor is expected to show that the accused was motivated by hatred to commit a hate crime in many nations, including the United States[20]. The issue of causality is further murky because there is no established guideline for determining whether a crime must be partially or entirely motivated by prejudiced hatred[21]. Therefore, a hate crime can also be a traditional crime that is committed for reasons that are motivated by hatred. This needs to be taken into account because of how the offence will be punished. A hate crime could be punished more severely than a similar offence,due to the presence of biased animosity, conventional crime. motivation being present consequently, there is a critical need for prosecution, however the influence on sentencing varies.

Hate crimes present a very difficult challenge to the harmony and well-being of every individual in a country like India, which is a melting pot of different ideologies and convictions.

Although from a historical perspective hate crimes are not a particularly new concept in India, new forms of them are now appearing that were not typical before. When compared to the conflicts that took place between the castes or subgroups that made up each of them, violence between Hindus and Muslims during the Middle Ages was virtually nonexistent[22]. But from the middle of the twentieth century, religious conflicts have intensified and increased in frequency. From the infamous Bengal riots of Direct Action Day in 1946, which resulted in thousands of deaths of both Hindus and Muslims, to the anti-Sikh riots in Gujarat in 2002 and the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, tensions between different religious groups, particularly those between Hindus and Muslims, have risen. However, it is still true that religiously driven hate crimes are less frequent than those motivated by caste. The closest number we can take into consideration comes from the "Halt the Hate" website, a setup because the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) does not currently have any official statistics accessible regarding the frequency of hate crimes in India[23]. To estimate the number of hate crimes committed in India, secondary data from sources like newspaper articles and reports can also be used. However, because the data from these sources is not vetted, there are some restrictions placed on its use. These figures are subject to change, according to the website Hate the Halt, which purports to track suspected hate crime cases.

Amnesty International's Research Details The Following:

902 total occurrences of alleged hate crimes were recorded between September 2015 and June 2019.
There have allegedly been 619 hate crimes against Dalits.
621 caste-related hate crimes.
From September 2015 to June 2019, 619 alleged hate crimes against minorities were reported on the website. Muslims are discriminated against by 196 Dalits, 31 Adivasis, 18 Christians, and 30 people overall with delicate gender identity and sexual orientation (SOGI)[24].

Since it started keeping track of these data in 2015, there has been a noticeable rise in each year's total. The Dalits, or persons from a lower caste, are the most vulnerable group, followed by Muslims and people with different sexual orientations and gender identities. Caste bias, religious bias, and SOGI bias are the three main types of bias in hate crimes. Based on the motivations behind them, the crimes have also varied, including assault, sexual harassment, rape, and murder.

Although India does not have a specific law to address the threat of hate crimes, there are some provisions under the Indian Penal Code of 1860 and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was passed to safeguard the constitutional values of equality, justice, liberty, and dignity by giving special protection to one of the most marginalized classes of society. Sec. 153A, 295, 295A, and 298 of the IPC only address a small portion of the entire spectrum of hate crimes[25].

The issue of hate speech is addressed in Sections 153A, 153B, 295, 295A, 298, and 505, and the entire Chapter XV is devoted to offences connected to religion; however, in this chapter, Sections 295 and 298 can be viewed as laws that can be utilized to control hate crimes. There are currently no provisions in the IPC that address the issue of mob lynching, although such provisions are provisionally addressed under Sections 299, 300, 304, 307, 308, 323, and 325. All of these clauses fall under Chapter XVI's "OFFENCES AFFECTING THE HUMAN BODY" section. Under terms of crimes against women, the IPC addresses them in Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, and 354D as well as Sections 375 and Section 376 both of which throw light on rape of a woman.

Information On Hate Crimes In India:

Between September 2015 and December 2019, Muslims were the group most frequently the subject of hate crimes in India, followed by Dalits. A total of 902 crimes were reported as the result of purported hatred, ranging from honor killing and love jihad to caste and religious discrimination.

Community Awareness Is Required:

Understanding the effects of the incident is crucial for addressing the issue of hate-motivated crimes. Understanding the topic helps the community recognize its importance and the urgency of resolving its problems. It is crucial to run a community-wide public awareness campaign that informs people about hate crimes and offers them resources.

Suggestions & Conclusion

The current problem posed by hate crimes in India as well as on the global stage needs to be addressed urgently. If left unchecked this has the potential for spreading intolerance and fear among the community targeted. The need to include hate crimes to the current legislation stems from the fact that these cause greater harm for the victim and the community at large[26]. Hate crimes require legislation specifically designed to combat them because current laws can only regulate traditional or parallel crimes, which have the potential to cause considerable conflict between communities and a sense of insecurity among the targeted groups. The goal of laws that specifically criminalize hate crimes is to defend those communities that have traditionally suffered disproportionately high levels of discrimination[27].

In comparison to the United States, India's rules on the regulation of hate speech are far better. The American approach may actually permit some forms of hate speech under the protection of freedom of expression, which is a privilege given to American people by the country's constitution[28]. As previously noted, the first step in recognizing the societal issues that can be one of the causes of VAW is the listing of specific types of VAW as hate crimes. Legislation has the potential to affect public opinion on specific topics, even if it cannot completely deter certain behaviors, particularly when the public has supported the social framework that fosters such behaviors[29]. With numerous bills, including those passed by Rajasthan[30] and Manipur[31] to combat

mob lynching in their respective states and the Uttar Pradesh Combating of Mob Lynching Bill, 2019 being taken into consideration by the Uttar Pradesh government, the issue of mob lynching is starting to gain some traction with policymakers. Other than them, The National Campaign Against Mob Lynching (TNCAML) drafted Manav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA). The data problem is the most important issue that needs to be solved. An official assessment that considers all of mob lynching's features could help change officials' unwillingness to accept that the issue is more serious than previously believed. The Judiciary can also act in a proactive manner. In the case of Tahseen S. Poonawalla, there are some indications of it[32], According to the judge in this instance, "lynching and mob violence are creeping threats that may gradually take the form of a Typhon-like monster fueled by bigotry and uninformed by the distribution of bogus news and false stories.

Education on diversity can have a greater influence than legislation. Proactive education and rehabilitative education are two different approaches to teaching diversity. In order to deter would-be offenders from committing hate crimes, proactive education will serve to educate both potential offenders and non-offenders to the values, beliefs, and customs of other communities. The purpose of rehabilitation education is to deter repeat offenders[33]. This education will bring both sides closer together by helping them comprehend one other's values and ideals in a world where people are being lynched as a result of the propagation of false information and news.

Hate crimes are not a recent trend nor a local issue. Innocent people are victimized all across the world simply for upholding particular ideas or identities. People are born into identities like as a Muslim, a woman, or a Black person; they have little to no influence over these. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the United States and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 in the United Kingdom have both gained some traction over time, but they have not been effective in curbing hate crimes.

Tolerance and harmony between the various sects of people are essential for national integrity and all-around growth in a country like India where there are numerous religions and even more castes. The recent increase in hate crimes is concerning, but what is even more concerning is that the Indian legal system is unable to effectively address this problem. The current rules may restrict an offender's behaviour, but they do not address the underlying issue of intolerance or other social attitudes that support such behaviour.


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