Free Press Journal

Hate speech: HC seeks Delhi Police reply on Raj Thackeray’s plea


Raj Thackeray

New Delhi: Delhi High Court today sought Delhi Police’s response on a plea of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray seeking quashing of summon orders issued by a court here for allegedly threatening and branding north Indian Muslims as insurgents in 2012. “Issue notice to respondent number 1 (Delhi police through SHO, Dwarka South). Status report should also be filed. Notice also issued to respondent 2 (complainant),” Justice Manmohan Singh said.

During the hearing, advocate Arunabh Chowdhury, appearing for Thackeray said the summons were issued by the trial court despite the investigating officer (IO) having filed a closure report in the case. “The closure report filed by IO says no case has been registered against Thackeray at Azad Maidan police station in Mumbai, where the alleged statements were made by him,” he said. Chowdhury further contended that summons were issued against Thackeray for offences under 153(a) and 153 (b) (promoting enmity between different groups) of IPC for which necessary prosecution sanction is needed from the Centre or state government under section 196 of CrPC.

Delhi Police opposed the contentions and said the plea is pre-mature at this stage and Thackeray can easily appear before the court and can prove his innocence. Justice Manmohan Singh then asked Thackeray’s counsel as to when he has been summoned as an accused by the trial court.

“He was summoned for yesterday but court had granted exemption from his appearance. Now he has been summoned for April 25,” the counsel for Thackeray said. Thereafter, the court asked Delhi police and the complainant to file their replies by then and posted the matter for further hearing on April 16.

The court said that it will decide, on the next date of hearing, the application moved by Thackeray for interim stay of the summons till the disposal of the plea. The trial court had issued summons on October 7, 2014, on a complaint filed by advocate Mithilesh Kumar Pandey, who had referred to a rally in Mumbai addressed by Thackeray, in which he had allegedly blamed Muslims from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand for violence during protests against Assam riots in 2012.

In his complaint, Pandey had said that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief, in his political rally, had repeatedly targeted these migrants and even declared them as “insurgents” and also threatened to throw them out of Maharashtra. P