READ: Arguments in Delhi HC as judge Muralidhar rips apart Modi govt over hate speeches by BJP leaders

Delhi HC directed the police to take “conscious decision” with respect to lodging FIRs against alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders in connection with the CAA violence and convey by Thursday

(Left) Anurag Thakur, (Right) Parvesh Verma (Photo courtesy- social media)
(Left) Anurag Thakur, (Right) Parvesh Verma (Photo courtesy- social media)

NH Web Desk

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the police to take "conscious decision" with respect to the lodging of FIRs against alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders in connection with the CAA violence and convey by Thursday.

The three BJP leaders are -- Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh 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 on Wednesday itself and view all the 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.

Here is an excerpt of lawyer’s arguments and comments by the judge inside the courtroom as reported by LiveLaw:

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta submits that he's been authorised by LG of Delhi to appear in this matter. Rahul Mehra opposes SG's appearance by arguing that LG can't authorise without the aid and advice of the council of ministers.

SG Tushar Mehta informs the court that this matter was listed before Chief's Court, and it will be coming up for hearing tomorrow.

SG Tushar Mehta informs the court about a petition pending before the Supreme Court (SC) regarding clearing the area of Shaheen Bagh.

SG Tushar Mehta says that the present petition is different from the one pending before the SC in terms of their scope and content and that the arrest of BJP leaders for allegedly making hate speeches is not urgent enough so as to call the matter from Chief's court and hear it today.

Justice Muralidhar informs SG Tushar Mehta as to how mentioning works in Delhi HC when the Chief's Court is on leave. 'Because Petitioner wanted urgent orders, we took it up today', Justice Muralidhar says.

Justice Muralidhar says that the court also has to decide whether the SG can appear for Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police.

Delhi Police counsel Rahul Mehra contends that the LG can't authorise the solicitor general to appear on behalf of Delhi Police without the aid and advice of Delhi Government. “It's against Rule of Law”, Mehra argues.

SG Tushar Mehta wants the present matter to be listed for tomorrow as he considers it to be not urgent. He also wants time to move an application and file his reply.

SG Tushar Mehta contends this question of appointing of counsel is a petty issue. He makes an oral application seeking impleadment of Union of India as a party to this petition

“Isn't lodging of FIRs against the culprits an urgent matter”, Justice Muralidhar asks

“We're repeatedly asking you to be a law officer. You need to satisfy us on the question of urgency'”, Justice Muralidhar tells SG Tushar Mehta

“Situation out there is very unpleasant. We have to discuss the issue of urgency,” Justice Muralidhar highlights. “Let me take instructions and come tomorrow”, SG Tushar Mehta responds.

“I'm not aware of the facts, I need to do that first before making my submissions' SG Tushar Mehta informs the court.

“We're asking you these questions only as your position as an officer of the court”, Justice Muralidhar highlights.

“There are videos that hundreds of people have watched. Do you still think it's not an urgent matter”, Justice Muralidhar asks.

“I haven't watched the videos”, SG responds.

Justice Muralidhar asks the police officer as to whether he has watched the video clips of BJP leaders which have led to a demand of FIRs against them? “I've watched two of them, haven't watched Kapil Mishra's video”, he responds.

“This is really concerning. There are so many TVs in your office, how can police officer say that he hasn't watched the videos. I'm really appalled by the state of affairs of Delhi Police”, says Justice Muralidhar.

Justice Muralidhar orders for clip regarding Kapil Mishra's speech to be played in the court, “Let all of you watch it”, he says

SG Tushar Mehta says that he doesn't watch TV or news before making his submissions “Unfortunately that's not the privilege that judges have”, Justice Muralidhar says.

After watching Kapil Mishra's speech, the police officer present in the court identifies the Sub Inspector present in the video.

Justice Muralidhar gives the transcript of Kapil Mishra's speech to SG. SG seeks more time to go through the same. “We want you to advise the Police Commissioner”, Justice Muralidhar says.

SG: So far as second and third clips are concerned, they're still under examination. We've received evidence from all sides. Regarding the first clip (Kapil Mishra), the content doesn't directly connect with the incidents that took place. Regarding the registration of FIR, it's a serious issue and we need more time to look into all the materials. We have to recognise that it's a sensitive matter.

Rahul Mehra (Delhi Govt counsel) submits that as per law, police officers should report to me. However, nothing of this sort has happened.

Rahul Mehra: Many times I've told Police Commissioner that in the courtroom, I'll act as the officer of the court. Status Report of police can only be taken on record if it's sent through my office.

Rahul Mehra: I don't see any reason why FIRs can't be registered. It ought to be registered against everybody. If they're later found to be wrong, they can be cancelled.

SG moves an application for the impleadment of Union of India in the petition filed by Harsh Mander.

Colin Gonsalves (for Mander): This is one of the most serious cases that has ever come before this court. It's shocking to see the state saying that we should wait for registration of FIRs. They not only gave speeches, but their affiliated people also went on to attack people while chanting 'Goli Maro Gaddaro Ko.’ It has become such a popular slogan. These leaders who made such speeches are later shown sharing space with the attackers. It was Anurag Thakur's speech which had set the ball rolling. Anurag Thakur is a public figure, his speech was circulated all over. It was that one slogan which led to the deaths of 18 people.

Colin Gonsalves shows the clip of Anurag Thakur's speech for the court's viewing.

Colin Gonsalves: “That one sentence is so explosive. He exhorted his supporters to chant back that slogan.”

Colin shows the video of the speeches made by Abhay Verma and Kapil Mishra 'They're physically exhorting their supporters to take up arms', he submits.

Justice Muralidhar shows the video of Abhay Verma's speech to the police officer present in the court.

Colin Gonsalves shows Pravesh Verma's speech to the court.

Colin Gonsalves submits that these 4 clips were widely circulated. These leaders are MPs and MLAs.

Colin Gonsalves for Harsh Mander: "The fact these persons are so senior in govt hierarchy, it shows that it was part of govt policy to run this narrative."

'What these persons are guilty of are propelling their gang to kill', he adds.

Gonsalves reads out provisions of IPC which he wants to press against Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma.

"We're right now at the Lalita kumari framework, we have to see whether any prima facie case is made out to warrant registration of FIR' - Justice Muralidhar on plea for direction to register FIR against politicians for hate speech.

Colin Gonsalves reads out the SC judgement in Lalita Kumari case 'Has any of these persons denied the veracity of these videos', asks the court.

Colin Gonsalves: No Sir, they seem to be very proud of their statements. Arresting them would be a first step towards calming the situation.

'Justice right now, would be the full force of law against these BJP leaders', Colin Gonsalves.

Court notes that the police officer present in Kapil Mishra's video is DCP North East, Surya.

Gonsalves argues that people would've complained, but there's no single FIR against police. 'Police allowed people to get killed. They were protected by the party in power', he says

'The attackers belong to the party in power, while the police was a mute spectator. Such is the tragic state of affairs in this city', Colin Gonsalves

Colin Gonsalves seeks arrests of the attackers so that terror is not treated with impunity.

SG: Today is not the day, this is not the time. The Petitioner hasn't proved as to why he's only highlighting these 3 videos as threat to public interest.

SG: If I start playing the clips that I have like they've made, they'll be an inflammatory situation

'By saying that, you're painting the police in a worse picture', Justice Muralidhar replies.

SG: FIRs will be registered an appropriate time

'What's the appropriate time, Mr Mehta? The city is burning' - Justice Muralidhar

'It's our constitutional duty to protect lives. Anguish of constitutional courts must be taken seriously' - Justice Muralidhar

Court asks SG Tushar Mehta of the consequences of not registering FIRs

'When you have multiple clips of inflammatory speeches, what are you waiting for? Why aren't you registering the FIR' - Justice Muralidhar

'It's the duty of constitutional courts to ask questions to executive bodies about their duties' - Justice Muralidhar

Justice Muralidhar is asking the police officer in court about the speeches of BJP leaders

'Consequences of not registering the FIRs is what we're concerned about' - Justice Muralidhar

What is causing us concern is the same slogans are being repeated in all videos. When you don't register FIR, a wrong message goes out which won't deter people from using this slogan - Justice Muralidhar.

"When the SG himself is saying that these videos are inflammatory, why aren't you registering the FIRs? The entire nation is asking that question.", Justice Muralidhar asks the police officer.

When you've registered FIRs for damages to property, why aren't you registering it for these speeches. Don't you want to even acknowledge the presence of a crime - Justice Muralidhar asks police

Every day's delay in registering FIR is crucial. The more and more you delay, the more problems are getting created - Justice Muralidhar

'Just register FIRs. You showed alacrity in lodging FIRs for arson, why aren't you showing the same for registering FIR for these speeches' - Justice Muralidhar

The court asks the police officer to communicate to the Commissioner of Police to immediate register the FIRs in respect of inflammatory speeches.

The court has said that it's not restricting itself to the 3 videos of speeches made by BJP leaders. All the videos concerning this matter shall be communicated to the Commissioner.

'Please express our anguish regarding the registration of FIR to the Police Commissioner.' - Justice Muralidhar

Court has issued notice in an application moved by SG seeking the impleadment of Union of India in the present matter.

Dictating Order:"Court perused four videos today - Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur , Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma." Court notes in the order that the Police Officer present in court is Praveen Ranjan, Special CP.

Dictating order : "In light of what has happened in last 3 days, the court has posed specific queries to Praveen Ranjan, Special CP, as to what would be the consequences of not registering these FIRs".

Dictating order " The court has also directed Mr Ranjan to communicate this court's anguish regarding non-registration of FIRs against such speeches."

Court dictating order : Th Commissioner shall follow the Lalita Kumari guidelines and seriously consider the consequences of not registering the FIR. No one is above the Rule of Law.

"Praveen Ranjan has also assured the court that all the videos shall be placed before the Commissioner of Police. Subsequently, the said Commissioner shall take a conscious decision. The matter adjourned till tomorrow"

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