New Delhi August 6: The Delhi high court on Wednesday asked a magisterial court to take a decision on CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat’s petition seeking registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma and others for their alleged hate speeches in relation to the anti-Citizenship Amendment (Act) protests. Karat’s petition claims that these speeches played a role in instigating the violence in Northeast Delhi in late February this year.
Disposing of Karat’s application, a bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Rouse Avenue court hearing the plea to decide on the matter in accordance with law, The Wire reported. It issued the directions after Karat’s counsel, Tara Narula, asked for permission to pursue the case before the local court which where the magistrate had reserved the order on her plea on February 26. She said the magistrate did not pronounce the order as the high court was seized of similar issues.
In view of the situation, the high court urged the magistrate to decide the application “in accordance with law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the case, and as expeditiously as possible and practicable”.
The bench also adjourned the hearing on several other petitions pertaining to the Northeast Delhi riots to August 24. Most of these had sought action against political leaders.
One of the petitions had asked for action against Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra; while another had sought FIRs against Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, AAP legislator Amanatullah Khan, AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi and former AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan for allegedly making hate speeches.
There was also a petition which had asked for filing an FIR against activist Harsh Mander, who had filed the petition seeking FIRs against the three BJP leaders. Incidentally, the bench earlier allowed Mander, who was represented by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, to withdraw his petition.
In its submission before the bench, the Delhi Police had through its affidavit on a batch of pleas, stated that the police acted promptly and without showing any fear or favour. This, it said, was the reason why the violence was contained within a matter of days and remained confined to a limited area. Activists and fact-finding teams have accused the Delhi Police of being complicit in the violence and that its investigations into the riot cases have been biased.
The Delhi Police stated that in the investigation “no actionable evidence has surfaced” against political leaders for “instigating or participating in the riots”.
The police affidavit added, “As and when substantial and cogent evidence of involvement of the aforesaid persons in the commissioning of any offence surfaces, the Delhi police will take suitable steps in the already registered FIRs. However, no fresh FIR is warranted at this stage.”
Further, it clarified that “speeches of political leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Pravesh Verma, Waris Pathan, and others are being examined by the Delhi Police and necessary action in this regard will be taken in due course of time if it is found on the evidence that their speech had any nexus with the riots.”
As for the petitions which raised questions around the investigation, the Delhi police claimed through the affidavit that these only amounted to blatant and brazen misuse of the public interest litigation.