Delhi riots: SC asks Delhi HC to list riots cases on March 6

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday requested the Delhi High Court to list on Friday (March 6) the petition seeking registration of FIRs against politicians for alleged hate speech in the wake of riots which gripped parts of North East Delhi last week.

The SC further requested the HC to hear the matter expeditiously.

The bench headed by CJI S A Bobde remarked that the long adjournment granted by the High Court was not justified.

“We don’t think the extent of such period of adjourning the matter is justified. We are of the view that the matter be heard on Friday”, CJI S A Bobde observed.

“We don’t want to assume jurisdiction when the High Court is seized of the matter. But such matters should not be delayed for long”, CJI said.

“Our intention is to get political leaders who are polarised to talk to people and bring about peace. You can do that in the Delhi High court as well”, added the CJI.

The Court also expressed in the order that Delhi HC should explore the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

It may be recalled that on February 27 a division bench comprising Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar of Delhi High Court had adjourned the hearing of the petition filed by Harsh Mander till April 13.

On Thursday, the bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and B R Gavai heard two petitions – a writ petition filed by a group of 9 riot victims led by Shaik Mujtaba Farooq and a special leave petition filed by social activist Harsh Mander. Both the pleas sought registration of FIRs against politicians who made hate speeches which allegedly incited the violence in North East Delhi last week.

The SC transferred the petition of riot victims to the Delhi High Court, and said that the same should be listed by the HC on Friday along with the earlier petition filed by Harsh Mander in HC.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that inflammatory speeches were made from both sides, and hence the registration of FIRs at this juncture might disturb peace. The Solicitor General also said that the order passed by the bench led by Justice Muralidhar on February 26 asking the Delhi Police to take a decision on FIRs within a day was not right.”That order should not have been passed”, SG said.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonslaves, appearing for the riot victims, submitted that the long adjournment granted by the Delhi HC was ‘demoralizing’.

“My problem is that these leaders are roaming free. I am disappointed with the sequence of events”, Gonsalves added.

The Solicitor General opposed the SC’s move to advance the hearing of the riot cases in Delhi High Court by saying that ‘violence has stopped now’.

“Riots cannot take place because of one or two speeches. Its fallacious to believe that”, SG Tushar Mehta said.

During the hearing, the Solicitor General submitted that Harsh Mander had also made provocative speeches during anti-CAA protests. When the bench sought the response of his lawyer Advocate Karuna Nundy on this allegations, she replied that she was not aware of those speeches.

On February 26, a bench comprising Justices Dr S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh of the Delhi High Court directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to “take a conscious decision” within a day on registration of FIR in respect of inflammatory speeches allegedly made by politicians including but not limited to BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma, Kapil Mishra and Abhay Verma.

Next day, on February 27, the matter was considered by another bench comprising Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Hari Shankar, which adjourned the hearing till April 13 following the submission made by the SG that the ‘situation was not conducive’ for the registration of FIR.