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SC Agrees to Hear PIL on Hate Speeches at Haridwar Dharma Sansad

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal that despite the registration of an FIR, no arrests have been made in the case.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a PIL seeking action against those who made hate speeches during the recent Dharam Sansad held at Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal that despite the registration of a first information report (FIR), no arrests have been made in the case.

According to LiveLaw, Sibal said, “FIRs have been filed, no arrests have been done. This is in the State of Uttarakhand. Without the intervention of your lordships no action will be taken.”

“I have moved this PIL in respect of what happened at the Dharam Sansad in Haridwar on December 17 and 19. We are living in difficult times where slogans in the country have changed from ‘Satyamev Jayate’ to ‘Shashtramev Jayate’,” Sibal said.

The CJI agreed to take up the matter.

The petitioners, journalist Qurban Ali and former judge of the Patna high court Anjana Prakash, approached the apex court seeking its urgent intervention in the matter pertaining to the hate speeches delivered between December 17 and 19, 2021 in separate two events – one organised in Haridwar by Yati Narsinghanand and the other in Delhi by Hindu Yuva Vahini. They have filed the petition against the Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi police commissioner, and the Uttarakhand director general of police.

The petitioners have asked the top court to issue directions to the police authorities to comply with the guidelines laid down by it in Tehseen Poonawalla vs Union of India and to consequently define the contours of ‘duty of care in investigation’ to be undertaken by the police authorities, the LiveLaw report said.

In the Tehseen Poonawalla case, the court had observed that “horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be permitted to inundate the law of the land” and “earnest action and concrete steps have to be taken to protect the citizens from the recurrent pattern of violence which cannot be allowed to become ‘the new normal’”.

Also read: Two Years Since SC Judgment, the Spectre of Mob Violence Continues to Loom Large

On December 23, the Uttarakhand police had registered a first information report against Wasim Rizvi, who was the former chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Central Shia Waqf Board, and two others under Section 153A of the IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) related to the statements made at the event.

Ten days later on January 2, a second FIR was filed in the case which named ten persons in connection with the Dharma Sansad. They were the event organisers: Yati Narasimhanand Giri, Rizvi, Sindhu Sagar, Dharamdas, Parmananda, Sadhvi Annapurna, Anand Swaroop, Ashwini Upadhyay, Suresh Chahwan and Prabodhanand Giri.

On December 27, a complaint was also filed against the editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News, Suresh Chavhanke, for his hate speech at the event in Delhi organised by the Hindu Yuva Vahini on December 19. It was marked to the Delhi police commissioner and the Govindpuri station house officer.

(With inputs from PTI)