The Delhi Police told the Supreme Court on January 30 that its investigation into hate speech incidents in the National Capital has been “substantially completed”.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud gave the police three weeks to complete the probe and file a final report.
Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for petitioner and Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi, said the police did not reveal the steps it intended to take to prevent the alleged hate offenders from doing it again.
The court asked the Delhi Police to detail the preventive measures it would have in place in such circumstances.
The court had rapped the Delhi Police in the previous hearing after Mr. Farasat had highlighted that no chargesheets were filed though the hate speech incident had happened in Delhi way back on December 19, 2021. Even the FIR was registered only on May 4, 2022. There had been no arrests or questioning of the suspects, Mr. Farasat had submitted.
Mr. Gandhi had highlighted how the incident witnessed “calls of violence and Nazi style salutes”.
“What are you doing in terms of the investigation? The FIR was only registered five months later. Eight months have passed since the registration of the FIR. There seems to be no palpable progress… Who is the investigating officer?” Chief Justice Chandrachud had asked Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the Delhi Police.
Mr. Farasat said there was a clear violation of the Supreme Court’s direction in the Tehseen Poonawala case in which the court had said the police should take preventive steps to stop such incidents from happening.
The hearing was based on a contempt petition filed by Mr. Gandhi against the then Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana.
In April last year, the Delhi Police had told the Supreme Court that there were no instances of hate speech at the Delhi dharam sansad event nor was there any “open call for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing”. The words spoken at the event were, instead, about “empowering one’s religion to prepare itself to face the evils which could endanger its existence, which is not even remotely connected to a call for genocide of any particular religion”.
In October, a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice K.M. Joseph had said it was “tragic what we have reduced religion to” in the 21st century and a “climate of hate prevails in the country” while directing police and authorities to immediately and suo motu register cases against hate speech makers and offenders who commit acts of communal violence without waiting for a complaint to be filed.