The Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered the Police Commissioner of Delhi to take a "conscious decision" on the issue of registering FIRs against politicians for making incendiary speeches. The speeches were allegedly made by BJP leaders including Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma.
Special CP Praveen Ranjan, the police officer who was present in the court, was also directed to communicate to the Commissioner the court's "anguish" regarding non-registration of FIRs against such speeches, reported Live Law.
"The Commissioner shall follow the Lalita Kumari guidelines and seriously consider the consequences of not registering the FIR. No one is above the law," the division bench comprising Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh observed in the order.
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 HC was hearing a plea moved by social activist Harsh Mander seeking lodging of FIRs and arrests of those involved in the ongoing communal violence in parts of northeast Delhi over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The petitioner had also sought a Special Investigation Team to be constituted to inquire into the instances of communal violence which have engulfed parts of Northeast Delhi.
Alleging that there was a close relation between the violence that broke out and the hate speeches made by politicians, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who was representing Mander in the court, said, "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."
He added, "What these persons are guilty of are propelling their gang to kill."
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, however, strongly opposed this saying that there were videos of incendiary speech being made by both sides and accused the petitioner of selectively highlighting only three clips. He added that the court's direction could have a demoralising effect on the Delhi Police.
The court also examined the clips containing alleged inflammatory speeches made by the politicians, in addition to the clip containing Kapil Mishra's speech which was played in the forenoon.
Earlier the bench had asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to advice the police commissioner on lodging of FIRs relating to alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders.
The high court said the situation outside was the Delhi High Court on Wednesday was very unpleasant.
It asked Mehta and deputy commissioner of police (crime branch) if they have seen the video clip of BJP leader Kapil Mishra making alleged hate speech.
On Tuesday, the court had directed the police to be present at the hearing which started at 12:30 PM today.
It had said, “A police officer who's versed with the facts of the situation is also directed to be present during the proceedings.”
The court had also said that police do not need its direction to take action in relation to the violence and police should take suo motu action as "this is very important". The court had told central government's standing counsel Amit Mahajan representing Delhi Police Commissioner that since they were served with an advanced copy of the petition they should come with instructions during the day.
As per reports, as the bench headed by Chief Justice was not holding court on Wednesday, the matter was mentioned for urgent hearing before Justice Muralidhar's bench by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who was appearing for Harsh Mander.
In the petition filed on February 25, the petitioner had claimed that as many as 10 people have been killed "in cold blood by the Delhi police and members of the organisation connected to the party in power at Centre." The number has now risen to 20. The petitioner also alleged that over 160 persons have been injured in the violence and many houses and shops have been burnt in areas such as Maujpur, Jaffrabad, Kardampuri, Bhajan Pura, Behrampuri, etc.
Seeking arrests of BJP leaders such as Kapil Mishra, Union minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma, the petitioner argued that the provocative statements made by these politicians led to assailants linked to them carrying out multiple brutal assaults on the unarmed persons who were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. It argued that FIR be registered against the said politicians and other rioters under sections 147, 148, 149, 153A, 153B, 120B of the Indian Penal Code, as well as, sections 3 and 4 of the Damage To Public Property Act.
Advocate Sneha Mukherjee, while mentioning the plea, said they are seeking that action be taken against certain individuals who are inciting people and making hate speeches due to which violence has erupted in various parts of North East Delhi.
The petition has sought direction to the authorities to declare on their website the full list with names of persons that were detained by police and paramilitary forces.
It sought to provide detained persons access to their family members and to legal counsel and also to preserve the evidence and CCTV footage of all cameras in and around the protest sites.
The plea said the authorities be directed to ensure the safety and protection of all the protest sites, especially women and children. It has also sought directions to the Centre for the deployment of the Army to maintain law and order in the national capital and areas where the "communal attack on people are most ferocious".
According to Live Law, earlier an emergency midnight hearing was held today at 12.30 am at the residence of Justice S Muralidhar of Delhi High Court to hear a plea to ensure the safe passage of victims injured in riots in Northeast portions of Delhi.
The plea was for directions to ensure safe passage of seriously wounded victims from Al Hind Hospital in Mustafabad, a small hospital lacking facilities, to GTB Hospital in Dilshad Garden.
Under the orders of the seniormost available judge Justice G S Sistani (as CJ was not available), a bench comprising Justices R Muralidhar and Anup Jairam Bhambhani held sitting at Justice Muralidhar's residence at 12.30 AM.
Communal violence over the amended citizenship law in North East Delhi claimed at least 20 lives till Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the violence escalated in North East Delhi as police struggled to check the rioters who ran amok on streets, burning and looting shops, pelting stones and thrashing people.