On Monday, a Supreme Court bench led by CJI SA Bobde agreed to hear activist Harsh Mander’s plea challenging the February 27 order of the Delhi High Court adjourning the petition seeking the registration of FIRs against BJP leaders making provocative speeches allegedly leading to the Delhi riots. While mentioning the matter before the bench, Mander’s counsel Colin Gonsalves explained the sequence of events. First, the CJI questioned how the apex court could interfere when the Delhi HC was already seized of the matter. He added that the matter must have been deferred for some reason.
Thereafter, Gonsalves contended that people belonging to a certain party were roaming free despite making incendiary speeches and alleged that people were dying every day. Stating that such situations were beyond the control of the SC, the CJI observed that certain media reports gave the impression that the court was responsible for the Delhi violence. Maintaining that preventive relief could not be issued, the SC listed the matter for hearing on Wednesday.
Former civil servant and activist Harsh Mander filed a petition urging the registration of FIRs against leaders such as Anurag Thakur who delivered provocative speeches, which allegedly led to the violence. On February 26, a Delhi High Court bench comprising Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh asked Special CP Praveen Ranjan to communicate the court’s anguish to the Police Commissioner regarding the non-registration of FIRs. The court gave a day to the Commissioner to take a conscious decision on whether an FIR should be filed.
When the matter was heard by the Chief Justice’s court on February 27, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta revealed that the police had decided to delay registering the FIRs as the situation was not conducive. Citing how the inflammatory speeches gave a sense of impunity to the attackers, Colin Gonsalves- the counsel for Mander demanded the immediate registration of FIRs as per the Lalita Kumari guidelines. However, the Centre was impleaded in the petition and granted 4 weeks to file a counter-affidavit after which the case was adjourned till April 13.