High Court reprimands Delhi cops for not booking people making provocative speeches, says sent ‘wrong message’
The Delhi High Court expressed its displeasure that no case has been registered in connection with clashes in Northeast Delhi and asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to take a “conscious decision” on registration of FIRs over inflammatory speeches made during the violence.
“Just register FIRs. You showed alacrity in lodging FIRs for arson, why aren’t you showing the same for registering FIR for these speeches?” said Justice Muralidhar.
“The more and more you delay (registration of FIR), the more problems are getting created,” the judge added. “No registration of FIR gives a wrong message to the society. The city is burning.”
The two-judge bench of the high court was hearing a petition filed by retired bureaucrat Harsh Mander over violence in Northeast Delhi. The petitioner had sought registration of FIR and arrest of those involved in violence, deployment of the army in the national capital and compensation for victims.
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The speeches of three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders - Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma - were also played by the court.
“They seem to be very proud of their statements. Arresting them would be a first step towards calming the situation,” said Colin Gonsalves, the lawyer of the petitioner.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that there are videos from all sides, but the petitioner chose only these three videos. “There are videos from all sides. Let the petitioner inform the court as to why he only chose three clips in a PIL. There’s selective public outrage based on these three videos,” said Mehta.
The Solicitor General also said that hate speeches were made from all sections during the violence, and that he has the videos to prove it. “If I start playing these clips, there will be an inflammatory situation,” said Mehta. He also accused the petitioner of lowering the morale of Delhi Police by showing these clips.
But the court was not impressed by the argument. “By saying that, you’re painting the police in a worse picture,” said Justice Muralidhar. “When you have multiple clips of inflammatory speeches, what are you waiting for? Why aren’t you registering the FIR? All the videos will be placed before the Police Commissioner and he should then take a conscious decision.”
The court posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday.
The court had earlier asked the clip of Kapil Mishra to be played in the courtroom after the petitioner argued that the BJP leader made inflammatory speech in Maujpur which led to escalation of tension in Northeast Delhi.
The speeches of Thakur and Verma highlighted by the petitioner were made ahead of the Assembly elections in Delhi earlier this month.
At least 20 people have been killed and more than 250 injured after violence broke out in Jafrabad, Maujpur, Chand Bagh and other localities of Northeast Delhi. The groups protesting for and against the Citizenship (Amendment) act or CAA were seen roaming on streets with swords and pistols. Houses and vehicles in the area were torched and more than 250 injured in two days of violence.
Though the protesters shifted from the main road under the Jafrabad Metro station on Wednesday morning, there were reports of a fresh round of violence in Chand Bagh and Gokulpuri. Some protesters started pelting stones, which led to a crackdown by cops in these areas.