On Friday, the Supreme Court bench led by CJI adjourned the hearing on the alleged controversial speech of former civil servant and activist Harsh Mander till April 15. Mander has been directed to file his reply to the affidavit submitted by Delhi Police. During the hearing, senior advocate Dushyant Dave appeared for Mander, who is out of India currently.
Initially, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta placed before the court the transcript of another speech where Mander purportedly made controversial remarks.
Arguing that a selective portion of the video was being spoken about, Dave stated that Mander’s speech was neither seditious nor inflammatory. He added that the government was willing to “shoot the messenger” instead of taking action against the “real perpetrator”.
He also urged the Solicitor General to file the same affidavit against every individual who delivered hate speeches. At this juncture, senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan noted that it was very rare for the SC to take up suo moto contempt cases. However, the court clarified that no contempt notice has been issued yet.
In the video dated December 16 last year, Harsh Mander is reportedly heard saying, “The fight won’t be won in the Supreme Court because we have seen for some time, in the matters pertaining to the NRC, Ayodhya, and Kashmir, the Supreme Court has not protected the ideals of humanity, equality, and secularism. There, we will definitely try. It is our Supreme Court. But the decision will neither happen in the Parliament nor in the Supreme Court. The future of this country- all of you belong to the young generation and you will decide what kind of country you want to give to your children. But, where will this decision happen? This will happen on the streets. And we have come on the streets.”
In the two-page affidavit filed before the apex court, the activist has been accused of “delivering a speech which us not only instigating violence but is also seriously contemptuous as it makes derogatory remarks against the Supreme Court of India before a huge gathering of people”.
The Centre also stated that “Harsh Mander is known for taking contemptuous stands and bringing the judiciary, as an institution and individual judges to disrepute”. Meanwhile, Republic Media Network accessed another video in which Mander can be seen expressing no faith in the SC.