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Delhi riots 2020: Supreme Court directs Delhi HC to dispose of hate speech case against BJP leaders within 3 months

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The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Delhi High Court to proceed expeditiously on a plea which sought registration of the FIRs and investigation against BJP leaders Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Abhay Verma and Parvesh Verma who allegedly made hate speeches to incite the Delhi riots of 2020. The HC has been asked to determine the matter preferably within three months.

The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai was hearing a petition by three victims of the Delhi riots which said the violence broke out due to the hateful comments made by the BJP leaders. The petitioners’ complaint is that the Delhi High Court was not hearing their case.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, submitted that the petitioners are now losing their hope as the High Court kept delaying the proceedings, despite an earlier issuance of directions by the Supreme Court in March 2020 to decide the matters expeditiously.

Gonsalves submitted further that the High Court said that their matter will be taken up after it has dealt with the alleged police atrocities during the anti-CAA protests in December 2019 in Jamia Millia Islamia campus. However, the said Jamia matter is also not progressing, hence the case of the petitioners is stuck.

The petitioners herein sought constitution of an independent Special Investigation Team comprised of officers belonging to some other place and not from Delhi to investigate the Delhi riots cases, provision of compensation for the victims and preservation of CCTV footages and evidence of violence.

Gonsalves on behalf of the petitioners submitted that 1 year and 10 months ago, they were directed to go to High Court for expeditious determination of their matter, later the High court said it will hear the matter after the Jamia matter. And even after 2 years, the Jamia matter has just started, even after the Apex Court’s order to expedite the matters. We are losing our hope now, Gonsalves said.

To which, Justice Nageswara Rao said that the Apex Court can only request the High Court to hear their matter as early as possible and dispose them. That is the only relief we can grant, he said.

Gonsalves pleaded and tried to convince the bench that their matter is just a half-an-hour matter. The counsel requested to allow him half an hour in the Supreme Court.

“We cannot do anything once the matter is sent back to HC. We appreciate your concern,” Justice Rao said that they cannot do anything once the matter is sent back to the High Court and that the bench appreciates his concern over the matter.

Gonsalves asked the bench to transfer the case to some other bench and said they do not have any faith, heads were cracked and students were beaten up brutally.

In the present petition, it is submitted that on September 17, 2020, the matter was listed for final arguments. However, the matter was adjourned on several dates later on. Though a bench led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel had said that it will be take up the Delhi Riots case after hearing the Jamia case. The matter was not listed after August 23, 2021.

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