Supreme Court: A bench headed by CJ SA Bobde has directed Delhi High Court to hear on Friday the PIL filed by Delhi violence survivors seeking registration of FIR against political leaders over their hate speeches, which allegedly led to the riots in the national capital. The Court also directed the High Court to hear on Friday other connected matter on the issue, which was adjourned till April, as an adjournment of the matters for a month was not justifiable and asked it to finish hearing in an expeditious manner.
Taking up the High Court, CJI Bobde said,
“Their prayer to hear the matter on time is justified. In riots, violence cannot be curbed by courts. But just because there is no violence it does not mean that courts can give such long adjournments.”
The Court also sought the names of political leaders who could talk to people to bring peace in the region. The top court also slated to hear on Friday the matter related to the speech given by petitioner Harsh Mander, in which he allegedly said that he doesn’t have faith in the judiciary, and sought a transcript of the video of the incident.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the alleged video of Mander saying he is seen to have called on the people of India to streets for “real justice” and expressed no faith in the courts. Stating that he will only hear directly affected party as of now, CJI said,
“If this is what he (Mander) feels about the court then we have to decide how to deal…,”
Advocate Karuna Nandy, appearing for Mander, said that his client did not make such a statement.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who is representing the riot survivors, said that local BJP leader Kapil Mishra had in January made similar statements but no police action was taken against him. Gonsalves said that while the protests caused the disruption, no violence took place, and claimed that Mishra’s statement led to the violence as “Goli Maaro” slogans were raised by leaders.
The court asked Tushar Mehta if the situation was now conducive for filing FIRs, to which he responded saying that registration of FIRs was an exclusive prerogative of the police and added that law enforcement authorities have to take a call on the matter. Mehta said that so far, 468 FIRs have been registered in connection with the violence.
“There are speeches from both sides and if we start registering FIRs against the leaders of the communities, things may aggravate. We leave it to the authorities. The government has not said it will not file FIRs, but that it will be done when time is conducive,”
CJI Bobde said that the bench has some experience of riots adding that sometimes when leaders are arrested, the riots flare-up.
“You know what happened in the Bombay riots… When the Shaka Pramukhs were arrested and locked up, the riots flared up. Bombay riots were worse than this,”
This comes after at least 47 people including IB officer Ankit Sharma and Police Head Constable Rattan Lal died while around 200 people sustained serious injuries in the violence that raged for three days in north-east Delhi last week.