The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government to videograph the proposed Hindu Jan Aakrosh Sabha event, to be held in Mumbai on February 5, by the Sakal Hindu Samaj and sought a copy of the recording. It passed the order after a petitioner, Shaheen Abdullah, approached it on Thursday through a mentioning by lady advocate Rashmi Singh, alleging that the organisation conducting the event had indulged in hate speech against the Muslims at an earlier event in Dadar, Mumbai, on January 29.
A Bench of Justices K M Joseph and J B Pardiwala also asked the state government to get instructions on the action taken with regard to the earlier event on January 29, where inflammatory speeches were made by Telangana’s BJP MLA T Raja Singh.
𝗦𝗚 𝘀𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘆𝗲𝘁
It also took on record Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s statement that any permission to be granted to the said event would be subject to the condition that no hate speech would be made defying any law or disturbing public order. He said permission to hold the meeting in question had not been granted yet.
“When a secular state does this then freedom of speech petitions will flood the country. If someone is prevented to voice their view, then there will be prevention of Article 19(1)(a) ...barring law and order situation ...
The court has to be very careful in a pre-censorship order,” he said.
𝗘𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼 𝗿𝗮𝘀𝗵 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲: 𝗦𝗖
Justice Pardiwala reacted: “We may be reluctant to grant a relief that this procession is not held. But it should be ensured that during this rally no rash statements are made and steps are taken and vigil is kept.”
When the SG questioned how a Kerala-based petitioner could know of speeches being made in Maharashtra and the top court could not rule that what was to be spoken had to first be vetted.
Justice Joseph retorted: “See what happened in Uttarakhand and then State took action. If there is a replica of what happened then we cannot allow this. Please read what is written.”
𝗥𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗸𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗳𝘂𝗹: 𝗦𝗚
The SG then admitted that the remarks made in earlier iterations of the event were distasteful, but said action would be taken against hate speech.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, then pointed out that it was only on last Sunday that hate-filled statements were made by an MLA and the same organisers were holding another event.
“They not only want pre-censorship but also pre-arrest,” the SG quipped, adding that the petitioner was abusing the jurisdiction of the court and was being selective.
Mehta also cautioned against any interim relief, stating, “Your lordships would be pre-judging if you say this. This forum is being misused. We are also not expressing many things.”
𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝘁 𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗲𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗻: 𝗦𝗖
Justice Joseph then reminded the SG of the top court’s role, and in the context of the petitioner, said, “This is because we are the only constitutional forum.”
“In case permission is granted, and in case power under Section 151 CrPC is invoked, it will be the duty of the police to invoke the power and act under the mandate of the section,” the bench ordered.
The SG then assured the bench that a statement would be filed as to what had transpired at the event on January 29.
The apex court asked the state government to permit the rally, subject to the condition that no hate speech would be made by anybody at the event.
Advocates Nizam Pasha and Rashmi Singh, appearing for the intervenors, brought to light the rally conducted by Hindu Jan Aakrosh Sabha on January 28, which called for the social and economic boycott of Muslims. The rally was attended by 10,000 people, it was argued.
𝗖𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮 𝗼𝗳 𝗨𝘁𝘁𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗸𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗗𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺 𝗦𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗮𝗱: 𝗦𝗖
The Bench said it could not allow a ‘replica’ of the Dharam Sansad in Uttarakhand, where hate speeches were made, targeting the Muslim community.
The plea contended that several events and rallies have taken place across Maharashtra, calling for an economic and social boycott of the Muslim community, levelling allegations of ‘land jihad’ and ‘love jihad’, to criminalise the entire community.
Such mass rallies, which also had child participants, were being organised with the consent and knowledge of the government, the applicant alleged.
Further, one such rally was organised by the Sakal Hindu Samaj, an umbrella body of Hindu right-wing organisations, under the banner ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Sabha’.
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