Govt wants to shoot the messenger, Supreme Court told on row over Harsh Mander speech
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Mander told the court that the Delhi police had submitted a truncated version of the speech and demanded the police to clearly explain which part of the speech was objectionable.Updated: Mar 06, 2020 15:11 IST
Activist Harsh Mander told the Supreme Court on Friday that his December 16, 2019 speech delivered at Jamia Milia, allegedly containing derogatory remarks against the Supreme Court, is neither objectionable nor contemptuous.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Mander told the court that the Delhi police had submitted a truncated version of the speech and demanded the police to clearly explain which part of the speech was objectionable.
“The speech attributed to him is not contemptuous. I have gone through the speech. Which part of the speech is objectionable,” Dave asked.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Delhi Police told the court that they are in possession of a copy of one more speech by Mander which is contemptuous.
“We have found one more speech by the very same person which is contemptuous”, he said.
Dave, however, alleged that the government was attempting to shoot the messenger by raising these allegations thereby curtailing Mander’s right to move the court.
“It is a serious issue. My right to move the court is being curtailed. The government wants to shoot the messenger”, he submitted.
The court asked Mander to file his response to the allegations and kept the case for hearing on April 15.
Mander had moved the Delhi High Court seeking registration of FIRs against BJP leaders including Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur for hate speech which he claimed instigated the riots and violence in north-east Delhi.
The high court had adjourned his plea for April prompting Mander to challenge that order in Supreme Court.
When the matter came up for hearing before the top court on March 4, SG Tushar Mehta had pointed out a speech made by Mander to a crowd protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in which the activist allegedly claimed that he does not believe in Supreme Court and the battle against CAA will have to be fought on streets.
The Supreme Court had taken a serious view of Mehta’s arguments and asked the police to file transcripts of the speech. The Delhi police filed the same on affidavit on Wednesday evening.
“The speech brings this court into disrepute,” the solicitor general told the court on Friday when the matter came up for hearing again.
“There is nothing in the speech which brings the court into disrepute”, Dave countered.
Dave also urged Mehta to file similar affidavits against leaders responsible for instigating violence in the national capital.
“I beseech you to file similar affidavits against other leaders too”, Dave said.