Justice DY Chandrachud on Thursday expressed his unhappiness over a news report targetting judges for allegedly delaying the hearing on a plea about violence against Christians, Live Law reported.

Chandrachud said that he was down with Covid-19 when senior advocate Colin Gonsalves sought an urgent listing of the plea on June 27. In the petition, Gonsalves mentioned that on average, 45 to 50 violent attacks take place against Christian institutions and priests every month across the country.

On Thursday, the advocate sought an urgent listing of the plea before a bench of Justices Chandrachud and Surya Kant.

“Give us a break,” Chandrachud said. “One of the judges was down with Covid, that is why we couldn’t hear it. There is a limit to how much you can target judges.”

He also wondered who was publishing these news stories.

The bench agreed to list the matter for hearing. “Alright list it,” the judges said. “Otherwise there will be another news item.”

Recently, Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice JB Pardiwala criticised the media for levelling personal attacks on judges.

Ramana said that biased views are being propagated by the media, affecting the people and weakening the democracy.

Ramana added that the media should not “invite interference” from the government or courts by overstepping its boundaries. “Judges may not react immediately,” he said. “Please don’t mistake it to be weakness or helplessness.”

The plea against hate crimes

Senior advocate Gonsalves’s plea has sought that Supreme Court’s earlier guidelines on curbing hate crimes in the country are implemented.

In the Tehseen Poonawalla case judgement in 2018, the Supreme Court had issued guidelines to the Centre and states on setting up special courts for trials, a compensatory scheme for victims and their relatives and disciplinary action beyond what is recommended in service rules for officers who do not deal with lynching cases properly.

The court had asked Parliament to consider creating a new penal provision to deal with incidents of vigilantism, saying that mobocracy cannot be allowed in society.

It had also ordered appointing nodal police officers in all districts, ensuring that sensitive areas are patrolled efficiently. Trials in the cases have to be completed in six months, the court had added. The trial courts were asked to award the highest punishment in relevant sections of the law for lynching.