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Legal

Updated on: Monday, January 10, 2022, 11:54 PM IST

FPJ Legal: SC to hear PIL against call for Muslim genocide

Supreme Court of India | File Photo

Supreme Court of India | File Photo

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New Delhi: A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Monday agreed to urgently hear a PIL seeking intervention in the matter pertaining to alleged hate speeches delivered in December during the ‘Dharam Sansad’ in Haridwar by Yati Narsinghanand and others in Delhi by the Hindu Yuva Vahini. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter raised through a PIL by Delhi-based journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court judge Anjana Prakash. The CJI agreed to take up the matter.

The PIL seeks criminal action with respect to the Haridwar Dharam Sansad conclave where hate speeches and genocidal calls were made against the Muslims. It sought an independent and impartial investigation into the incidents of hate speeches against the Muslim community and to issue directions to the police to comply with the guidelines laid down by it in Tehseen Poonawalla vs Union of India (2018) 9 SCC 501.

In the petition, it is argued that the concerned speeches emphasising on the “ethnic cleansing of Muslims” is in violation of the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to which India is a signatory. The petitioners have referred to the Law Commission Report that hate speech is not merely offensive speech, but it is also an injury which amounts to more than hurting sentiments which demands restriction in a democratic setup.

The Petitioners referred to the case of Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan vs. Union of India (2014) 11 SCC 477, and submitted that the apex court has recognised ‘hate speech’ as a violation of Articles 14, 15 and 21of the Constitution.

Between December 17 and 19 last year, at two separate events organised in Delhi and Haridwar, hate speeches were allegedly made by a group of people calling for genocide of Muslims. The Uttarakhand Police had filed an FIR on December 23 under Section 153A and 295A of the IPC against five people, namely Wasim Rizvi, Sant Dharamdas Maharaj, Sadhvi Annapoorna alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, Yati Narsinghanand and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj.

The petition was moved by advocate-in-record Sumita Hazarika on Saturday, calling for the Apex Court's registrar general to list it for an urgent listing. It stressed the urgency noting that “the hate speeches consisted of open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing” and they amount to “an open call for murder of an entire community”. It said: “Despite the passage of almost three weeks, no effective steps have been taken by the police authorities, including non-application of Sections 120B, 121A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 that squrely apply go the said hate speeches. The blatant inaction by the police also came into the forefront when a police officer's video went viral on the internet, wherein one of the speakers of the aforementioned events openly acknowledged the officer's allegiance with the organisers and speakers of the Dharam Sansad.”

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Published on: Monday, January 10, 2022, 11:54 PM IST
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