Delhi riots: High Court orders FIR against 4 BJP leaders for hate speech

HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIRs against Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma, Abhay
  • We should never allow another 1984, says Delhi HC
  • Advocate Zubeda Begum appointed as amicus curiae
Delhi High Court.
Delhi High Court. Photo: Website/Delhi High Court
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New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi Police to take a conscious decision on lodging of FIRs and convey it to the court on Thursday.

“Just register FIRs (on speeches by 4 BJP leaders),” the court said while asking the Special Commissioner of Police to communicate the message to Police Commissioner.

The four BJP leaders include Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Anup J Bhambhani took on record the assurance by special commissioner Praveer Ranjan that he will sit with the police commissioner today itself and view all video clips and take a conscious decision on lodging of FIRS.

The high court also issued notices to the parties concerned on the plea filed by the Centre seeking to be impleaded in the case.

The matter will be heard further on Thursday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the Delhi HC that it should wait for the response of the authorities concerned on the issue of lodging FIRs against alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders in connection with the CAA violence.

The court was hearing a plea seeking lodging of FIRs and arrests of those involved in the ongoing communal violence in parts of northeast Delhi over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. It has left 21 people dead and over 180 injured. During the hearing, Mehta said any decision taken now may aggravate the situation.

Delhi government's standing counsel Rahul Mehra contended however that there was no reason to not lodge the FIRs against the leaders.

Mehra said that FIR ought to be lodged against everyone involved in the violence.

Earlier in the day, the high court had said the situation outside was very unpleasant.

Kapil Mishra's clip played in Delhi HC

During the hearing, the court asked Mehta and Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime branch) Rajesh Deo if they had seen the video clip of BJP leader Kapil Mishra making alleged hate speeches.

While Mehta maintained that he does not watch television and has not seen those clips, Deo said he has watched the video of BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma, but has not of Mishra.

On the submission made by the police officer, Justice Muralidhar remarked, "I am really amazed at the state of affairs of the Delhi Police", and asked the court staff to play Mishra's video clip in the courtroom.

When the gathering in the jam-packed courtroom started hooting, the bench asked them to maintain decorum or else it will hold an in-camera proceedings.

At the outset, the hearing witnessed heated arguments between Mehta and Mehra, who raised objection over the appearance of the law officer on behalf of the police commissioner.

Mehra said the issue has been settled by the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on the powers of the Centre and the Delhi government and everyone should respect the Rule of Law of the country.

Mehta contended that the Union of India is also a stakeholder in the matter and he has been instructed by the LG to appear.

The SG urged the court to implead the Centre as a party in the petition as the issue involves law and order and requested that the matter be heard on Thursday.

He also said the statements by BJP leaders Verma and Thakur were made several days back and it was not urgent to be heard today.

The court observed, "Does that not make it even more urgent. When the commissioner was made aware of such statements, does he need someone to approach him to take action. As a law officer you answer whether this prayer (for lodging FIRs against three BJP leaders) is not urgent."

Mehta replied, "I am not saying it is not urgent, but it can wait till tomorrow."

INDIA-CITIZENSHIP-PROTESTS

Another 1984 can't be repeated under our watch

While referring to the Delhi riots, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that it cannot allow another 1984 to happen under its watch.

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots, was a series of organised pogroms against Sikhs in India in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

The court cautioned the authorities to remain alert so that the carnage caused during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots is not repeated.

"No, no we should never allow another 1984... especially under the watch of the court and under your (Delhi Police) watch... We have to be very, very alert," the bench said.

The Delhi HC also applauded the police for prompt action in evacuating the injured in north-east Delhi where communal violence has erupted over the amended citizenship law.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Anup J Bhambhani termed as "extremely unfortunate" the killing of IB officer in the ongoing violence.

"While order was being dictated mid-night, police was implementing it right there and rescuing injured persons," the bench said during the day's hearing.

It added that the highest constitutional functionaries who move with Z-security should reach out to the affected people to give them confidence that law is functioning.

The court appointed advocate Zubeda Begum as amicus curiae to coordinate between the victims and various agencies.

It further asked the director of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) to provide sufficient number of qualified professionals to cater to the victims suffering from post trauma stress.

The court has put up the matter for further hearing on February 28.

The court held a special hearing, which started at 12:30 am at the residence of Justice Muralidhar, after receiving a call from an advocate explaining the dire circumstances wherein it was not possible to move the victims from a small hospital to the GTB Hospital.

It then directed the police to ensure safe passage for the injured to government hospitals and providing emergency treatment for them.

It had directed the police to deploy all resources at command and on the strength of the order as well as to make sure the injured receive immediate emergency treatment, if not at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital then at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) or Maulana Azad or any other hospital.

The bench had also called for a status report of compliance, including information about the injured victims and the treatment offered to them.

It said the order be communicated to the medical superintendents of the GTB and the LNJP Hospitals.

The urgent hearing was conducted after advocate Suroor Mander called the judge and sought urgent orders for safe passage of ambulances for the injured.

Delhi Police and the government were represented through additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose.

During the hearing, the bench spoke over phone to doctor Anwar of the Al-hind Hospital in New Mustafabad who told the court that there were two bodies and 22 injured persons there and he had been trying to seek police assistance since 4 pm on Tuesday without success.

The court then directed the senior officials to reach to the hospital forthwith, following which they started the process of evacuating the injured to the nearest hospitals.

It also said this order be brought to the knowledge of the Delhi Police Commissioner.

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