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HC lists pleas on Delhi riots, hate speeches for March 12

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
March 06, 2020 19:18 IST
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The Delhi high court on Friday listed for March 12 multiple pleas related to violence in northeast Delhi including the ones seeking filing of first information reports against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Kapil Mishra for allegedly making hate speeches.

IMAGE: A man sits in front of burnt out properties in a riot affected area following the clashes in New Delhi. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

The pleas also include a separate petition alleging hate speeches by other political figures including Congress party's Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The high court had on February 27 listed all such matters for hearing on April 13, but the Supreme Court on March 4 observed that such a long date 'was not necessary and was not justified'.

The apex court asked the high court to hear on March 6 the matters related to the violence and alleged hate speeches and dispose them of 'as expeditiously as possible'.

 

As a result, a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar took up all the petitions seeking lodging of FIRs on the violence which has left at least 44 people dead and over 200 injured, and against political leaders for making hate speeches.

The plea against the three BJP leaders has alleged that hate speeches by them led to eruption of violence related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The bench asked the Centre and Delhi Police to file their replies by March 12, the next date of hearing.

While passing the order, the bench said that as the Supreme Court has asked it to hear all connected matters together it was listing them all on the same day.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh on February 26 had expressed anguish over the police failure to register FIR against Thakur, Verma and Mishra -- over their alleged hate speeches and had asked the police commissioner to take a 'conscious decision' on it by the next day.

The next day the matter was heard by a bench of Chief Justice Patel and Justice Shankar, as it deals with public interest litigations, which gave the Centre and police four weeks to file their replies to the petition demanding action against the BJP leaders and listed for hearing on April 13.

On March 4, the Supreme Court had asked the Delhi high court to hear on March 6 the pleas seeking lodging of FIRs against some BJP leaders for alleged hate speeches.

"Adjournment by the high court for such a long period was not necessary and was not justified," the apex court had said.

Apart from the petitions and applications already before the high court, one matter has been sent from the apex court and two others have been filed by Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat.

Karat in one petition has sought directions to make public the list of persons arrested in connection with the recent violence in the northeast part of the city.

In her other plea, she has challenged a trial court order deferring decision on her complaint seeking direction to police to lodge FIRs against the BJP leaders who allegedly gave hate speeches.

During the hearing, senior advocate A S Chandhiok told the court that drains there were full of bodies and urged the court to pass directions to clear them.

On this, Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra said that steps have been taken by police along with the Jal Board and irrigation department to clear the bodies from the drain.

Thereafter, Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose sought directions from the bench to provide police security in the relief camp set up at Idgah here and to provide police assistance to those persons who wish to recover their belongings from their homes in the riot-hit areas.

The death toll in northeast Delhi's communal violence stands at 44, with over 200 injured.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Acharya assured the court that police will provide all necessary assistance.

The ASG's assurance on behalf of the police, led to Mehra remarking that he is the one who is representing the agency and not her.

He further said that as long as he is the standing counsel (criminal) appointed by a full court of the high court, he would be representing the police as has been held by a Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court.

Mehra also said that if the police did not want him to represent it in any specific case, all they have to do is send an official letter requesting him not to appear in the matter.

"Can't they show me that much dignity," he added.

Subsequently, the ASG said that Mehra was behaving like a politician which led him to burst out and say 'I am sorry I cannot accept this statement. Such a remark is unacceptable'.

He, then, pointed towards the ASG and the central government standing counsels (CGSCs) in the court and said 'each one of them is a politician'.

His remark led to a strong outburst from the CGSCs who opposed his statement saying it was unacceptable.

Apart from the three BJP leaders and the Gandhis, the pleas filed in the high court have also sought lodging of FIRs against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, former AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker and radio jockey Sayema for alleged hate speeches by them.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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