The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi High Court to hear matters related to the northeast Delhi violence on March 6 while observing that the one-month adjournment by the HC was “unjustified”.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, heading a bench that also comprised Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, requested the Delhi High Court to deal with the matter expeditiously while asking it to explore the possibility of peaceful resolution of the dispute. The northeast Delhi riots have claimed the lives of 47 people so far and left over 200 injured.
“We think that adjournment (in Delhi HC) of such a long period is unjustified. We also do not want to assume jurisdiction when HC is seized of the matter. All other connected matters in the same subject which have been adjourned to a later date may be advanced and taken up along with this matter,” CJI Bobde said.
Replying to the CJI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the situation was not conducive. “We have received 7000 videos. We said right now the situation is not proper. We will when the situation is conducive,” Mehta said.
“We don’t think that violence can be curbed by court orders. In an injunction, there are specific people. But in a matter like this, there are not specified people,” CJI Bobde shot back.
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, who is representing the petitioners, said there would have been no riots had the “main persons” been jailed while referring to alleged hate speeches made by BJP leaders.
“We also have some experience of riots. Your statement is not absolutely true. Sometimes when you catch leaders and jail them, it flares up,” the CJI said, citing the Mumbai riots.
On February 27, while hearing a plea seeking registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Sahib Singh, and Kapil Mishra and others for allegedly making provocative statements that sparked mob attacks in northeast Delhi, the Delhi HC had adjourned the hearing to April 13.
The Delhi HC Bench, presided by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Hari Shankar, acceded to the Centre’s argument that “the time was not conducive to file FIRs related to the alleged hate speeches as the priority right now is to ensure peace”.
SC asks activist Harsh Mander to clarify ‘justice on street’ remark
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also sought the response of activist Harsh Mander whether he had made remarks against the top court and said it won’t hear his plea unless he clarified on the matter. The apex court’s reaction came after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta produced transcripts of his reported speech at Jamia.
A video of Mander’s speech had gone viral, in which he is heard allegedly saying “there is no trust left in the courts and that ultimate justice has to be on the streets”. “Many have violated the majesty of the law. Are you also one of them? Chief Justice of India SA Bobde asked Mander’s lawyer Karuna Nundy.
Delhi riots: 369 FIRs lodged, 33 arrested
A week after riots broke out in several areas of Northeast Delhi, 369 FIRs have so far been lodged in connection with the violence and 33 people have been arrested for rioting. However, the Crime Branch’s special investigation team (SIT) is yet to arrest riot conspirators, people on charges of murder, or nab those who attacked DCP (Shahdara) Amit Sharma.
Officials working on the ground to ascertain the damage during the riots have so far verified that 79 houses were destroyed completely in fires, 168 sustained substantial damage, and 327 shops were burnt.
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