New Delhi: A jam-packed Delhi High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing on filing of FIRs against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur for their alleged hate speeches to April 13.
Incidentally, Justice S Muralidhar, who was hearing the case before his abrupt midnight marching orders, had ordered lodging of FIRs within 24 hours.
Bending backwards, the court has given four weeks to the Delhi Police to file a reply in the case. The court was apparently swayed by the argument of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the environment was not conducive to registering the FIRs right now.
The order came from the Bench of Chief Justice Dhirubhai N Patel and Justice C Harshankar, who took over the case after the late night transfer of Muralidhar.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for petitioner and social activist Harsh Mander, pleaded for an early date but the Chief Justice declined, saying one has to wait for the response from the Centre and the police.
‘‘Every day 10 to 12 people are dying. Please give us a short date," Gonsalves pleaded. Mander, in turn, said he would move the Supreme Court against the leniency that the high court was showing in the matter.
Appearing for Lawyers' Voice, senior advocate Chetan Sharma argued this is not the time for pro-active judicial intervention since Delhi needs peace.
Mehta, who is representing the government, said the petitioner was selective in cherry-picking only three so-called hate speeches. "There are a large number of speeches that we have received. We can't be choosy and selective."
He read the order passed by the Muralidhar Bench, asking Delhi Police to consider all hate speech instances.Citing the perennial dispute between the Centre and the Delhi government on who represents Delhi Police, the SG moved an application to implead the Centre as a party.
He placed an affidavit on record stating that "we have considered the issue of registration of hate speech FIRs and decided to defer the registration until the authorities have examined all audio-video material."Stressing that the condition is not conducive at this moment, he said the FIRs will be registered at an appropriate time.
Standing counsel Rahul Mehra wondered why not register them since 11 FIRs have already been registered. He said the paramount concern should be the welfare of citizens, all of whom are not here while "all of us are concerned over what is happening in Delhi, including the Centre, the State, the petitioner and everyone else.
"The SG said not 11 but 48 FIRs have been registered till date, pertaining to loss of property, etc. "At this juncture when all stakeholders are working to ensure normalcy, any hurried intervention may not be conducive," he pleaded, seeking time to file a response on Mander's plea.Referring to the three BJP leaders, whose video clips were seen by everyone in the court on Wednesday, Gonsalves said:
"These are very high people in the ruling party and the government...the implication is that it's alright to kill." He pleaded for an order quickly, since the facts are indisputable and it is a clear-cut case.He further pleaded:
"The hate mongers should be taken off the streets of Delhi and a message should be sent that no matter who you are, the moment you incite, you will be held responsible. You can clearly link the acts of violence with the provocative speeches."