"Wish For Peace But Limited Power": Supreme Court To Hear Hate Speech Cases

The Delhi High Court had last week given the police four weeks to give an update on action against the leaders, accused of inciting violence over the controversial citizenship law protest.

BJP's Kapil Mishra has been accused of hate speech.

Highlights

  • Cases against BJP leaders filed by those affected in Delhi violence
  • Delhi High Court gave 4 weeks to cops to give an update on action taken
  • Several leaders accused of inciting violence over citizenship law protest
New Delhi:

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear cases against BJP leaders accused of hate speeches, filed by victims of last week's Delhi violence in which 46 have been killed. Listing the petitions for Wednesday as lawyers stressed on urgency, the Chief Justice, however, said the Supreme Court "wishes for peace but has limitations to its power" to control such violence.

"We are not equipped to prevent these things from happening. We can only deal with the situation after that. This is a kind of pressure on us. We can't handle so much pressure," said Chief Justice SA Bobde.

The Delhi High Court had last week given the police four weeks to come back with an update on action taken against the leaders accused of inciting violence over the controversial citizenship law CAA. Petitions have called for First Information Reports (FIRs) against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma, Anurag Thakur and Abhay Verma.

Lawyer Colin Gonsalves said the case filed by a few victims had been adjourned for a month by the High Court after the transfer of Justice S Muralidhar, who had urged tough and prompt action against the hate speeches.

"We went to the High Court. A notice was issued. It was carried to Thursday. The judge was transferred. The High Court Chief Justice adjourned the case for six weeks," said Mr Gonsalves.

"It is urgent. People are killed at the rate of 10 per day," he stressed.
Chief Justice Bobde, asking whether any reason had been given by the High Court for the four-week gap, said: "In the absence of an order, what can we do?"

He added: "We would wish peace but you know that there are limitations to our power. There is some expectation, which we can't do. We will take it up on Wednesday. Let us see what we can do."

Last Wednesday, the High Court bench headed by S Muralidhar had told the Delhi Police that there should be no delay in registering FIRs over the hate speeches, urging the cops to "seriously consider consequences" of not doing so. The two-judge bench had also played the hate speech videos in court, and Justice Muralidharan said the court "would not allow another 1984 scenario".

Justice Muralidhar was transferred later that day; the Centre called it a routine notice after the Supreme Court collegium recommended his transfer on February 13. The next day, the case was taken up by Delhi High Court Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Harishankar, who, on a police request for more time, posted the case to April 13.

Mr Gonsalves said it was "unfortunate" that such an important petition was being delayed.

"We also read newspapers and the comments which are made," the Chief Justice said.

The number of deaths has risen to 46 after rioting in various parts of northeast Delhi last week, in which mobs armed with iron rods, sticks and guns roamed the streets and targeted people, shops, cars and homes.

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