The Supreme Court on Friday made strong comments while hearing a petition on hate speeches in India. The court termed it "shocking for a country that is supposed to be religion-neutral".
"This is the 21st century. Where have we reached in the name of religion?" the court said.
SC asks for response from Centre and states
The Supreme Court on Thursday had sought response from the Centre and the states to a plea seeking directions for taking appropriate steps to stop hate speeches against the Muslim community.
A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravi Kumar issued notices to the Centre and all states while tagging the matter with other pending petitions on the issue pending before another bench.
Petitioner Shaheen Abdullah has moved the top court also seeking direction to the Centre and states to initiate independent, credible and impartial probe into the incidents of hate crimes and hate speeches across the country.
At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, said something needs to be done to tackle the problem and action must be taken against those making hate speeches or indulging in hate crimes.
SC calls the plea vague
The bench said the prayer in the plea is very vague and no specific instances have been mentioned.
It said cognizance can be taken where an FIR has been lodged in a case.
Sibal, however, submitted the prayer in the petition is not vague and mentions recent incidents of hate speeches.
He added several petitions have been filed in the last six months to stop hate crimes but such incidents are still continuing.
In his petition, Abdullah has also sought invoking the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other stringent provisions to curb hate crimes and hate speeches.
He has said the Muslim community is being "targeted and terrorised" by the participation of the members of the ruling political party in delivering the hate speeches.
"The spread of hate towards Muslims and other minorities gets accelerated and becomes all the more far reaching in its impact as a result of the support, directly or indirectly, extended to radical miscreants, who engage in acts of hate crimes, physical violence as well as communally charged speeches by the ruling political party", it said.
(with inputs from ANI and PTI)