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‘Amazed at no FIRs over hate speeches’ HC Raps Cops, Questions Lack Of Action Against BJP Functionaries

February 27, 2020 05:16 AM

COURTESY TOI FEB 27

‘Amazed at no FIRs over hate speeches’
HC Raps Cops, Questions Lack Of Action Against BJP Functionaries
Abhinav.Garg@timesgroup.com

New Delhi:

The alleged hate speeches by BJP functionaries Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma came under scrutiny of the Delhi high court on Wednesday, which said it was “amazed” and “anguished” that police hadn’t lodged FIRs against them.


Playing in the courtroom video clips of each controversial speech made by the three BJP members in connection with the CAA-related violence, a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh said they “ex facie appear to be answering the description of the crime of hate speech in terms of IPC Section 153A proviso (a) and

(b), both of which are cognisable and non-bailable.”

The court directed the commissioner to view all the clips and any other that police may have received in this connection and take a “conscious decision” by Thursday. “What is an appropriate stage? When the whole city has burnt down? How many more lives are to be lost before action is taken?” the bench demanded from solicitor general Tushar Mehta when he maintained that police were in possession of the clips, but were waiting for a conducive time since the atmosphere was charged now.

Disagreeing with Mehta’s stand, the bench was quick to point out the “consequences” of police inaction against hate speech. “Has the police commissioner seen these videos? If you don’t have an FIR, how are you going to proceed? Three speeches have given way to more speeches. You acted with alacrity in cases of loot and arson. Why was no similar action shown in the case of these speeches?” the bench wondered, referring to BJP MLA Abhay Verma’s alleged speech in Laxmi Nagar.

The bench asked special commissioner Praveer Ranjan to convey the “anguish of a constitutional court” to the commissioner.

The order was issued while hearing a petition by human rights activist Harsh Mander and activist Farah Naqvi. Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves said not just FIR, the BJP members should be arrested and jailed. The hearing, held in a jampacked courtroom, saw Mehta and Delhi Police standing counsel Rahul Mehra differ on registration of FIRs.

While Mehta argued that the court should wait for police to file its response and not pass any interim orders, Mehra contended an FIR should be registered if a cognisable offence had been committed and, later, if enough evidence is not found, a cancellation report could be filed.

While watching Mishra’s video, the bench asked the name of the police officer seen standing next to him and was informed by Gonsalves that it was DCP (Northeast) Ved Prakash Surya.

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