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Take decision on FIRs: Delhi High Court

Harsh Mander. File

Harsh Mander. File  

Court questions delay in action against BJP leaders

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi police to take a “conscious decision” on registering FIRs against the three BJP leaders accused of making hate speeches, observing that the city could not be a witness to another 1984-like riots. The police have to communicate the decision by Thursday.

 

During the hearing on a petition moved by human rights activist Harsh Mander and activist Farah Naqvi, four video clips were submitted. The court observed that they “ex facie appear to be answering the description of the crime of hate speech” under Section 153A (a) and (b) of the Indian Penal Code, both of which are cognisable and non-bailable.

‘We want peace’

Expressing anguish over the delay in lodging FIRs, the court asked the police: “Why are you not showing alacrity when it comes to registration of FIR in these cases?... We want peace to prevail. We do not want the city to witness another 1984 riots. This city has seen enough violence and anguish. Let it not repeat 1984.”

Special Commissioner of Police Praveer Ranjan was present during the hearing, while the petitioners were represented by Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves.

“If you don’t have an FIR, how are you going to proceed. These speeches are leading to more speeches and yet you are saying it is not the appropriate stage. Just register the FIRs Mr. Ranjan. And communicate this to the Commissioner in the same spirit forthwith,” said the court.

The Bench of Justices S. Muralidhar and Talwant Singh, in its order, said it posed specific queries to the police officer about the consequences of delay in filing FIRs for each of the speeches played in the court.

The order said Mr. Ranjan had assured the court that he would sit with the Police Commissioner on Wednesday itself, view all the videos, not limited to those played in the court but any other videos that might be provided to them and which they perhaps already are in possession of, and take a conscious decision, which will be communicated to the court tomorrow itself,” said the order.

It added that the police “should seriously consider the consequences” of the delay in registering FIRs, not only on the basis of the video clips played in the court, but all the others disclosing commission of an offence.

Of the four video clips, one was of a speech by Union Minister Anurag Thakur on January 21, and the second clip was an interview given by MP Parvesh Verma on January 28.

The third was a speech by BJP leader Kapil Mishra on February 23 in the presence of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast Delhi), while the fourth clip showed Delhi MLA Abhay Verma on February 25, repeating the very slogan that featured in Mr. Thakur’s speech.

Earlier, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Delhi police, told the court that he had not watched any of the videos, following which Justice Muralidhar ordered that Mr. Mishra’s video clip be played.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:29:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/take-decision-on-firs-delhi-high-court/article30925268.ece

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