The Delhi High Court on Monday, 13 June, dismissed the plea filed by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat and politician KM Tiwari against a trial court decision to not register a First Information Report (FIR) against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma for hate speeches given weeks before Delhi Riots 2020.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh dismissed the plea and said that the complainants failed to follow the process under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), reported Livelaw.
The court stated that in order to prosecute Thakur and Verma for the alleged offences mentioned in the complaint, a prior sanction of the Centre is required, as per the Section 196 CrPC.
The order said,
“During the arguments by counsels for the complainants, a question was put to them as to whether any sanction has been procured by them to which the answer was in negative.”
‘Where Is the Communal Intent in That Speech?’: HC
The petitioners, however, argued that the sanction was only required before taking cognisance and not before registration of FIR.
The court differed and responded that the contention of the counsel for the complainants is “misconceived” is not “tenable in the eyes of the law,” reported Bar and Bench.
The Court also observed that in such matters where an effective alternative remedy is available, then the high court intervention should not be exercised unless in an emergency case.
Commenting on the alleged hate speech by the BJP leaders, Justice Singh stated that in the speech “Ye log” could be “anybody”. He said, “How can you translate or think about this? There is no direct instigation.”
He added, “Where is the communal intent in that speech?”
Karat had previously stated in her complaint that during an election rally in Rithala, Thakur raised chants of “Desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro saalon ko” (Shoot the traitors) with reference to those taking part in peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (anti-CAA) protests in northeast Delhi.
Three days after Thakur's speech, a Hindutva supporter opened fire outside Jamia, injuring one student.
On 1 February, Kapil Gujjar fired shots at Shaheen Bagh saying, "Iss desh mein sirf Hinduon ki chalegi (Only Hindus will have their say in this country)."
The next day, there was another firing reported outside Gate 5 of Jamia.
Karat filed charges against the two politicians related to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and race; imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration; criminal intimidation and deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
(With inputs from Livelaw, Bar and Bench.)