On Hate Speeches, Court Gives Centre A Month To Update On Action Taken

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today gave centre a month’s time to give an update on the action taken against hate speeches that allegedly incited violence in the national capital, triggering clashes over controversial citizenship law that killed at least 35 and injured over 200 this week.

This came a day after a furious two-judge high court bench, headed by Justice S Muralidhar, had told the Delhi Police that there should be no delay in registering FIRs over the hate speeches, urging the cops to “seriously consider consequences”. A two-judge bench had played videos of hate speeches by four BJP leaders – Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Abhay Verma and Parvesh Verma – in the court and asked why there shouldn’t be FIRs against them.

In strongly-worded comments, the court also said it would not allow “another 1984 scenario”, referring to the bloody anti-Sikh riots that killed over 3,000 in Delhi alone.

As the high court resumed hearing in the case today, Solicitor General Tushar Mehra – appearing for the Delhi Police and the central government – said petitioners “can’t select hate speeches”, asking for more time to file FIRs in the matter.

“Petitioner selected three hate speeches. I pointed out that in a plea, that the petitioner can’t select speeches. We pointed out large number of speeches other than those three we received. We can’t be selective on speeches,” he told the court.

“Under the present conditions, FIRs can’t be filed now,” he said, adding, that “police will take action at the appropriate time”.

In his petition, activist Harsh Mander had sought arrest of the BJP leaders over the alleged communal remarks made by them in the last few weeks. His lawyer today urged the court to ensure their arrest without any delay. “These people who have exhorted people to kill must be arrested,” the lawyer said.

Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Harishankar bench, after hearing arguments from both the sides , gave centre four weeks to give an update on the action taken against the hate speeches. The court will hear the case next on April 13.

Unrelenting violence has consumed northeast Delhi since Sunday, as groups for and against the controversial citizenship law clash. Stone throwing, arson and vandalism was reported as goons rampaged through the streets armed with iron rods, sticks and guns. Five days on, violence-hit areas still remain tense.

Forty-eight FIRs have been filed and over 130 people have been arrested over the clashes.