The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Delhi Police’s response to a plea seeking a case against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma for their alleged hate speech, reported PTI.
The petition was filed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat. She approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court in June dismissed her petition seeking a first information report against Thakur and Verma.
At a rally in January 2020, Thakur was heard shouting “desh ke gaddaron ko” and the crowd responded with “goli maaro saalon ko”. The slogan meant “shoot the traitors”, with an expletive used for “traitors” being a reference to those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Soon after, riots had broken out in North East Delhi in February, in which 53 people died and hundreds were injured. The majority of those killed were Muslims.
Karat had sought an FIR under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (imputations prejudicial to national integration), 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 298 (uttering words with intent to hurt religious feelings), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 505 (public mischief) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
However, the Delhi High Court order had upheld the verdict of a magistrate and said that the petitioners had not followed the prescribed mechanism under the Code of Criminal Procedure for seeking registration of a first information report in such cases.
Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that prior sanction from the Centre or state government is required for a court to take cognisance of a case under Sections 153A, 153B, 295A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code.
The High Court had upheld the magistrate’s stand that sanction from the government was required for filing an FIR in the matter.
On Monday, a bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna observed that prima facie, the magistrate’s view appeared to have been incorrect, reported Live Law.
Justice Joseph, however, questioned how a case could be filed under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, and said that the provision pertains to promoting enmity between two classes of people.
Advocate Siddharth Agarwal, appearing for Karat, said in response: “This is an election rally. It refers to a dharna at Shaheen Bagh by the members of a particular community and the exhortation of ‘traitors’ was in the context of that particular group.”
The case will be heard again in three weeks.