The Delhi High Court on Monday sought responses from a slew of politicians, a Bollywood actor and a former Judge, among others, as to whether they ought to be impleaded as party respondents to a petition seeking their impleadment in a hate speech case related to the Delhi riots of February, 2020.
A Bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta issued notices to Union Minister Anurag Thakur, BJP leaders Kapil Mishra and Pravesh Saheb Singh Verma, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, activist Harsh Mander, AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi, actress Swara Bhaskar and former judge of the Bombay High Court Justice (retired) BG Kolse Patil were also issued notices, among others.
The Court was hearing applications seeking their impleadment in a batch of petitions alleging that they delivered hate speeches during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act that instigated the riots of February, 2020 in the national capital.
The petitions have demanded that FIRs should be registered against them for their alleged hate speeches and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) should be constituted to conduct an inquiry into the role of Delhi Police in dealing with the riots, where over 50 people died.
The Court asked the politicians and others to respond as to whether they ought to be impleaded as party respondents to the present writ petitions.
There are nearly half a dozen petitions in the batch of cases relating to this issue.
While the ones filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and others seek inquiry into the role of the Delhi Police as well as ‘right-wing’ leaders including Thakur and Mishra, the petition filed by Lawyer’s Voice alleged that it was speeches of the Gandhis, Kejriwal and others that instigated the riots.
The High Court has given all the respondents time to file their replies on the impleadment applications, and listed the case for further hearing on March 22.
The Bench said that the petitioners in the present petitions have to satisfy the Court as to the maintainability of the matters as public interest litigations (PILs).
The petitions are being heard after the Supreme Court in December asked the Delhi High Court to deal with these matters as expeditiously as possible, and preferably within three months.
Case name: Jamit Ulama-i-Hind v Union of India and Ors