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HC asks police whether hate speeches before 2020 Delhi riots subject matter before SC

A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh asked advocate Rajat Nair appearing for the Delhi Police to obtain instructions on the matter and listed the batch for hearing on February 2.

The bench also asked senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for one of the petitioners, to show whether the High Court had ever directed the constitution of a fact-finding committee by a retired judge, which was one of the prayers sought by his client. (File)
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HC asks police whether hate speeches before 2020 Delhi riots subject matter before SC
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While hearing a batch of petitions seeking registration of an FIR against political leaders for alleged hate speeches made prior to the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots, the Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the police to inform whether these speeches were also the subject matter of pleas pending before the Supreme Court.

A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh asked advocate Rajat Nair appearing for the Delhi Police to obtain instructions on the matter and listed the batch for hearing on February 2.

Nair had submitted several pleas were pending before the Supreme Court and he was appearing in one of the matters. The bench also asked senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for one of the petitioners, to show whether the High Court had ever directed the constitution of a fact-finding committee by a retired judge, which was one of the prayers sought by his client. “The Supreme Court has done so but has the High Court ever directed it? The Supreme Court has powers under Article 142 which the High Court doesn’t exercise,” Justice Mridul said.

Gonsalves said the matters had been pending for a long time, to which the High Court said the delay was not caused by the court. “None of these parties that you have now impleaded were parties when these matters were first listed. That delay was occasioned not because of the court. The idea is to make sure that in this clutter we do not lose the plot. We want to know whether these speeches are the subject matter of proceedings before the Supreme Court,” Justice Mridul said.

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Gonsalves said that matters pending before the Supreme Court concern broader guidelines on hate speech.

The High Court had in July last year allowed the impleadment of several politicians, including four BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, and Abhay Verma, as well as Congress’s Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi, AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan, social activist Harsh Mander, actor Swara Bhaskar, and activist Umar Khalid among others as respondents to the batch of pleas.

The Supreme Court is seized of matters highlighting inflammatory speeches delivered at several gatherings across the country and seeking formulation of guidelines to regulate such hate speeches.

First published on: 25-01-2023 at 09:27 IST
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