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Law

SC Asks Harsh Mander to Respond to Delhi Police's 'Hate Speech' Allegation

'I'm a little concerned, a government who wants to shoot the messenger does not wish to take action against those whose speeches are actually causing unrest.'

New Delhi: The Supreme Court asked activist Harsh Mander on Friday to file his response to the allegation of the Delhi Police that he had also delivered hate speeches during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests here.

Appearing for Mander, senior advocate Dushyant Dave said he had perused the statement attributed to the activist and found nothing contemptuous and objectionable in those.

“I’m a little concerned, a government who wants to shoot the messenger does not wish to take action against those whose speeches are actually causing unrest,” Dave was quoted as having said, by Bar and Bench.

Mander had originally sought registration of FIRs against BJP leaders including Union minister Anurag Thakur, former MLAs Kapil Mishra and Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma, for allegedly delivering hate speeches which resonated with people of the locality, spawning the communally targeted violence that has till now killed nearly 50.

Also read: ‘Constitution, Love, Ahimsa’: Harsh Mander’s Speech Which Centre Now Claims ‘Incited Violence’

The Delhi Police had on Wednesday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against Mander and sought initiation of contempt proceedings against him for alleged “derogatory remarks” making insinuations against the apex court and its judges.

On Friday, when senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, while making arguments, said that it was rather rare for the Court to take up suo motu contempt cases, a bench, comprising Chief Justice Bobde and Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, clarified that it had not issued a contempt notice to Mander and said it would hear the plea on April 15.

Appearing for the Delhi Police, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the submission.

The top court had, on March 4, remanded to the Delhi high court a plea filed by 10 riot victims, seeking registration of FIRs against ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma for allegedly making hate speeches ahead of last month’s communal violence in northeast Delhi, in which more than 40 people lost their lives.

The apex court, however, has kept to itself a plea filed by Mander, in which the activist has challenged the long adjournment on his plea by the Delhi high court.

(With PTI inputs)