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Hate Speech: Delhi High Court dismisses plea against Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma

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The plea filed by CPI-M leader Brinda Karat, seeking registration of an FIR against Union Minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Pravesh Verma in alleged hate speeches delivered during the anti-CAA protests of 2020, was dismissed by the Delhi High Court on Monday

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Chandradhari Singh said that whenever such provisions were moved against public functionaries, a sanction was needed to prosecute them.

The Court also said that the alternative remedies are available to the petitioner.

The complainants alleged that Thakur had raised chants of “desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko” in reference to persons who participated in “peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)”. MP Pravesh Verma, as alleged, threatened anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh.

 “During the arguments by counsels for the complainants, a question was put to them as to whether any sanction has been procured by them, to which the answer was replied in negative,” the order stated.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders Brinda Karat and K.M. Tiwari had challenged a trial court’s decision to not direct the filing of FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma for hate speech and moved the Delhi High Court.

The High Court was scheduled to pass a verdict on June 13, on a petition moved by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

In her petition, Karat had sought direction to the Delhi Police to register an FIR against Thakur and Verma under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code. 

The petitioner had submitted that the issue of sanction came after taking cognisance and not at the stage of registration of an FIR, according to Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Earlier, petitions were also filed before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, seeking registration of FIR under Sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 298, 504, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

However, the ACMM had dismissed the same on the said grounds of lack of previous sanction from the authority.

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