The Delhi High Court on Thursday, 27 February, asked the center to respond within four weeks to a PIL seeking registration of FIRs against politicians who had delivered hate speeches, weeks before unrest spread across major neighborhoods in northeast Delhi.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar granted a month to the Centre and the police to file their replies to the PIL seeking lodging of FIRs against alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders.
Arguing for petitioner Harsh Mander, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves noted that there have been several speeches by leaders from a particular political party, where they have encouraged people to “go and kill.”
Gonsalves added that prior to these speeches, the protests were peaceful.
‘Decision to Not File FIR in Haste’
Meanwhile Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that as the Centre is responsible for maintaining law and order in Delhi, it be made a party in the matter, which was allowed by the court.
Mehta also read out an affidavit from the Delhi Police Commissioner saying that they have taken a ‘conscious decision’ not to register FIRs in haste and will carefully consider this and file cases at an appropriate stage when the atmosphere is more conducive.
At the outset, Mehta told the bench that 48 FIRs have been lodged in connection to the violence and there be no judicial intervention till normalcy is restored in the national capital. The FIRs lodged so far relate to arson, looting and deaths.
Meanwhile, Justice Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on a day a bench headed by him expressed “anguish” over the Delhi Police's “failure” to register FIRs against the alleged hate speeches made by BJP leaders Parvesh Verma, Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur.
The death toll in the violence reached 34 on Thursday with around 200 people injured.
‘Disappointed by Court’s Decision’: Harsh Mander
Speaking to ANI, Mander, who had filed the petition seeking the arrest of BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and Parvesh Verma for inciting violence in the national capital, said he was disappointed with the court’s decision.
“I am extremely disappointed and extremely pained by the order,” he said, adding that the whole point of the petition was the intense urgency of directing the police to take action.
He went on to say that an FIR was not a matter of discretion in these matters and that they should have been registered as soon as the hate speech was made.
(With inputs from PTI)