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Hate speeches: Supreme Court agrees to hear PIL against calls for genocide of Muslims

The Supreme Court today agreed to urgently hear a PIL seeking its intervention in the matter pertaining to hate speeches delivered in December last year in  Haridwar by one Yati Narsinghanand and the other in Delhi by Hindu Yuva Vahini.

The PIL has been filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Judge of Patna High Court and Supreme Court Senior Advocate Anjana Prakash. The petition drawn by Advocate Rashmi Singh and filed by Advocate Sumita Hazarika.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter before the Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana for urgent listing. The CJI agreed to take up the matter.

The PIL seeks criminal action with respect to the Haridwar Dharam Sansad conclave where hate speeches and genocidal calls were made against Muslims.

The PIL further seeks independent and impartial investigation’ into the incidents of hate speeches against the Muslim community and to issue directions to the police authorities to comply with the guidelines laid down by it in Tehseen Poonawalla v. Union of India (2018) 9 SCC 501.

In the petition, it is argued that the concerned speeches emphasising on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims is in violation of the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to which India is a signatory.

The petitioners have referred to the Law Commission Report that hate speech is not merely offensive speech but it is an injury which amounts to more than hurting sentiments which demands restriction in a democratic setup.

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The Petitioners referred to the case of Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union of India (2014) 11 SCC 477, and submitted that the Apex Court has recognised ‘hate speech’ as a violation of Articles 14, 15 and 21of the Constitution.

Between December 17 and 19, 2021 at two separate events organised in Delhi and Haridwar, hate speeches were made by a group of people calling for genocide of members of the Muslim community. The Uttarakhand Police had filed an FIR on 23.12.20221 under Section 153A and 295A of the IPC against 5 people, namely Wasim Rizvi, Sant Dharamdas Maharaj, Sadhvi Annapoorna alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, Yati Narsinghanand and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj.

Read petition below:

Qurban-Ali-Anr-v.-UOI-DNo.11522022

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