Day after 24-hr deadline, court puts off FIRs for hate speech case by 4 weeks
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Delhi high court on Thursday that no FIRs should be registered for now against politicians accused of making hate speeches during Delhi violence and Assembly elections, saying the environment is not conducive.
Mehta, representing the police in the Delhi high court, sought more time to file his reply in the case filed by retired bureaucrat Harsh Mander seeking registration of FIRs against such politicians.
Rahul Mehra, the standing counsel in the case, however, opposed Mehta’s argument and said, “48 FIRs have been registered so far in different cases of Northeast Delhi violence, so why not register FIRs now.”
Colin Gonsalves, the lawyer of the petitioner, said that they are not pressing for arrest, but only an FIR. “FIR in only the initiation. If evidence is not found, the FIR can be quashed. But the FIR should be registered so that arrest can be made later.”
The court, meanwhile, agreed with the Solicitor General’s argument to make Union of India a party in the case and adjourned the matter. It gave Centre time to file its reply till next date of hearing on April 13.
The case is being heard by Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Harshankar. It was with the two-judge bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh who had directed the police to “take a conscious decision” by today on registration of FIR in respect of inflammatory speeches allegedly made by politicians.
Apart from registration of FIRs, Mander has sought deployment of the army in Northeast Delhi and compensation for victims of violence.
At the course of hearing on Wednesday, the high court had played the video clips of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma. While Mishra has been accused of making inflammatory remark as the violence broke out in Jafrabad, Maujpur and other areas of Northeast Delhi, the other two leaders reportedly made incendiary remarks in the run-up to Assembly elections earlier this month.
The court had expressed displeasure with the police for not registering the FIR till now. The bench was also surprised when the policemen present in the court said that they did not see the clips in which Mishra is allegedly made inflammatory remarks.
The Solicitor General, who is representing the police, had said yesterday that there is no need to hear the petition urgently and had accused the petitioner of being selective in choosing the speeches, whereas hate remarks were made by many other leaders.
The protest started in the area on Saturday, but flared up after Mishra came to the spot and reportedly told the police to clear the area in three days “or we will”.
The Opposition has attacked the Centre and has demanded the arrest of Mishra, but the BJP leader has defended himself, saying that he is being threatened.