Indian Express

‘Hate’ speech: Amit Shah moves HC for stay on arrest, quashing of FIRs

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 Amit Shah Amit Shah

BJP’s UP in-charge Amit Shah Wednesday approached the Allahabad High Court seeking a stay on his arrest and quashing of FIRs registered against him for allegedly giving ‘hate’ speeches at election meetings in Bijnor and Shamli on April 4.

A Division Bench of Justices Arun Tandon and Satish Chandra has asked the state government and the Election Commission to ensure that the CDs of the alleged hate speech are presented before it by Thursday. Shah had been booked under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act and Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code, both pertaining to promoting enmity between two communities. Both were registered on April 6 in Shamli and Bijnore.

“The court has directed the state government to produce the CDs in connection with the FIR,” said Shamit Gopal, counsel for the petitioner.

Election Commission counsel Bhupendra Nath Singh said: “The court asked the EC to produce the CDs. We submitted (before the court) that while we will try to get it in time from our headquarters, the state may be in a better position to do so. The court then asked both the state and the EC to ensure that they are brought before it in the stipulated time.”

Gopal said that the petition has sought stay on Shah’s arrest and quashing of the FIRs on the ground that the alleged offence was not made in the speech.

“Our contention is that the speech in question was not intended to disturb communal harmony or create a law and order situation. In the absence of intent, the alleged offence is not made. We have also argued that this speech was not made at a rally or a public meeting that is open to all. It was a meeting of limited people who were party workers. Third, our argument is that the speech did not lead to any law and order situation or breach of peace in public and, therefore, it cannot be concluded that it was inflammatory,” said Gopal.

In meetings on April 4 in Bijnor, Shamli and Muzaffarngar, Shah had reportedly said it was time to seek revenge by casting vote.

“A man can live without food or sleep. He can live when he’s thirsty and hungry. But when he’s insulted, he can’t live. Apmaan ka badla toh lena padega,” Shah had reportedly said.

Amid an outcry from political parties, which termed it a tactic to polarise the 2014 elections, the BJP had defended Shah’s statement saying that asking for revenge through vote was not inflammatory.
Muzaffarnagar and its surrounding areas had witnessed communal riots last year in which more than 50 people were killed and a large number of victims were rendered homeless.

BJP’s UP in-charge Amit Shah Wednesday approached the Allahabad High Court seeking a stay on his arrest and quashing of FIRs registered against him for allegedly giving ‘hate’ speeches at election meetings in Bijnor and Shamli on April 4.

A Division Bench of Justices Arun Tandon and continued…

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