On hate speeches, Centre gets four weeks to file response
Departing from the urgency it showed yesterday in the matter of hate speeches that possibly fanned communal tensions in the national capital, the Delhi High Court on Thursday gave Centre four weeks' time to file its response on a plea seeking FIR against BJP leaders who passed abhorrent remarks. The matter, which warranted a quick hearing, has now been adjourned for April 13.
Emotions for and against CAA sparked communal tensions, dozens died
This week, Northeast Delhi went up in flames, taking the lives of over 30 and injuring nearly 200. The communal clash between Hindus and Muslims started due to contradictory views on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and by Wednesday, several people had to face the brunt of it. Delhi Police was pulled up for ignoring the carnage and not doing enough.
Bench named BJP leaders who spewed venom
Yesterday, a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh fumed at Delhi Police for not taking action against hatemongers, while naming BJP's Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma, and Anurag Thakur. When Delhi Police claimed it hadn't seen Mishra's speech, the bench played it in court. Solicitor Tushar Mehta, who represented police, claimed the petitioner, former bureaucrat Harsh Mander, was "selecting" names.
HC said 1984 can't happen again, took softer stand today
When Mehta suggested the time wasn't appropriate, the bench wondered what were the cops waiting for. HC also said it can't let another 1984 happen in Delhi. While the court's stand was much appreciated yesterday, its statements today showed it was taking a softer stand. Today, the matter was heard by Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar.
But why were the judges changed?
Justice Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court after a late-night notification was issued. A Supreme Court collegium had recommended his shift about two weeks ago. Even if he wasn't shifted, Justice Muralidhar wouldn't have heard the case, as he was just filling in for Chief Justice Patel. His transfer, however, raised pertinent questions about the state's interference in the judiciary.
Apparently, Delhi Police wants things to get normal first
During today's hearings, Delhi Police told HC it made a conscious decision to not file FIRs against hate speech till normalcy is restored in the capital. Mehta also urged that no hurried intervention happens before things get normal. The senior law officer prayed to allow an application that sought impleadment of the Union of India as a party to the FIR matter.
Slogans spoiled everything: Petitioners' lawyer told HC
"You can have strong protests and society can remain peaceful. However, these slogans disrupted everything. People were asked to go and kill. Most evil thing to do is to preach hatred which resulted in multiple deaths," senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves, who represented Mander, said.
Centre gets a breather of four weeks
After hearing both the sides, the court gave Centre four weeks' time to file an FIR. "SG had submitted before the court that the Union is seized of the matter. Further, it was submitted that Union has gone through all the videos and needs more time to take appropriate action as the situation is not conducive today," the bench added.
Another petitioner said the incident was well-planned
To note, senior Advocate Chetan Sharma, who appeared for "Lawyers Voice" also made his submissions today. The body wanted FIR against politicians like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Asaduddin Owaisi, and claimed the entire episode was planned. "Why did all this happen during President Donald Trump's visit. Who asked people to come to the streets? Arrest them!" he said in the court.Share this timeline