Wish Peace, But Certain Limitations to Our Powers: CJI on Plea Seeking Hate Speech FIRs Against BJP Leaders

Ghughuti Bulletin


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on Wednesday a plea by rights activist Harsh Mander seeking an FIR against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and others for alleged inflammatory speeches in the run-up to the riots in northeast Delhi.

A bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, while agreeing to listing the case, however, observed that the court has certain limitations on its power and have never been able to prevent such things.

The observation was made after senior counsel Colin Gonsalves sought an urgent hearing, saying that five people are killed every day.

In response, the CJI remarked, “We wish peace but there are certain limitations to our powers too,” adding that the courts can’t stop anything and come in the scene after things have occurred.

“We pass orders to uphold law and order. There are reports suggesting as if courts are responsible for everything. But we know we also have our limitations,” the Chief Justice said.

Harsh Mander approached the SC after the Delhi high court deferred the hearing in the case to April 13. The high court had last week accepted the Centre’s logic that the time was not conducive to register hate speech cases and given the government four weeks to file a counter-affidavit in response to the plea.

Apart from Thakur and Mishra, Mander had sought FIRs against BJP MP Parvesh Verma and MLA Abhay Verma for making incendiary statements that allegedly incited mob attacks and riots in northeast Delhi.

The bench, which comprised Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar adjourned the hearing of the petition, a day Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh gave the Delhi Police 24 hours to take a ‘conscious decision’ on filing the FIRs. However, the matter reverted to the chief justice’s court and the police found itself off the hook.

The court’s order came after solicitor general Tushar Mehta submitted that the situation was not “conducive” for registration of FIRs. “The condition is not conducive at this moment. FIRs will be registered at an appropriate time,” Mehta said.

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