The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that the decision of the Delhi high court to adjourn a petition seeking registration of FIRs against politicians who made hate speeches that may have instigated the Delhi riots, cannot be justified and directed the High Court to list the matter for Friday, urging it to explore the possibility of a peaceful resolution of the dispute.
The Delhi high court has been directed by the SC to decide the case expeditiously.
Ten victims, affected by the Delhi violence, approached the Apex Court requesting to register FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, for offences of hate speech, rioting, unlawful assembly, insulting religious beliefs, and murder.
The petitioners held that a similar petition was filed before the Delhi high court by Harsh Mander, an activist, which was adjourned by the court for more than a month. Mander had also moved the Supreme Court against the adjournment order of the high court for April 13.
The petitioners contended that videos in which the four BJP leaders were allegedly seen exhorting their followers against the anti CAA protestors, had gone viral on social media.
Colin Gonsalves, Senior Counsel, appearing for the petitioners on Wednesday told the court that Kapil Mishra had made provocative slogans on February 23, instigating the people to unleash violence.
“We did not understand the enormity of his statements then. With DCP (a deputy commissioner of police) standing beside him, he gave an ultimatum to clear the blockade within three days or else he will take things into his hands. And after that violence started,” Gonsalves argued.
Solicitor general, Tushar Mehta claimed that both sides had made provocative statements. Excerpts from a video of Harsh Mander was read out by Tushar, where Mander was seen to be instigating Muslims to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act as a proof of this.
Of course, nowhere in the clip, Mander asked anyone to break the law or promote violence.
According to the Solicitor general, registration of FIRs at this point might affect the situation adversely, although the riots have subsided. Therefore he submitted that the decision regarding registration of FIRs should be left to the authorities who are in a position to take stock of the situation on the ground.
The petitioners have prayed for a special investigation team, comprised of officers from outside Delhi to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. They have also sought an inquiry by a retired judge to identify and take action against police officials who were involved in rioting and criminal conduct. The petitioners have sought before the SC for directions to ensure the safety of protestors protesting at various sites against the citizenship amendment act and to compensate the families of those who were killed or injured during the violence.
All the petitions filed before the Supreme Court relating to Delhi riots will be transmitted to Delhi high court for hearing on March 6, along with the other cases already pending before the high court on the same issue.