Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Supreme Court adjourns hearing in plea against attack on Christians to August 8

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The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned hearing to August 8 on a petition seeking directions to stop violence and mob attacks against the members of Christian community in various states across the country and the implementation of SC’s guidelines to curb hate crimes.

Appearing for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves said, “It is an unfortunate situation, more than 500 attacks have occurred on Christian institutions. We are seeking a relief similar to the one in lynching cases.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is down with Covid-19, appeared through video-conferencing. He said, “I want to put in a preliminary reply by this week.”

The Bench, headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, replied, “There is already a judgement in Tehseen Poonawala. We have to see if that framework is being followed. We cannot enquire into individual cases.”

The petitioner’s Counsel then said that some tweaking of Tehseen Poonawala verdict might be required in the case.

Earlier on July 11, the Bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had adjourned hearing in the matter to a later date, as the documents related to the plea were not circulated among the concerned parties.

The matter was mentioned before the top court of the country by Senior Advocate Gonsalves, appearing for petitioner, Archbishop of Bangalore Diocese Dr. Peter Machado.

The plea sought directions to set up Special Investigation Teams with officers from outside the states where the incidents had happened, register FIRs, conduct criminal investigations and prosecute the criminal offenders in accordance with law.

The petition also sought direction to the SITs to file closure reports in cases where false counter FIRs have been filed by the assailants against the victims.

It sought implementation of the guidelines issued in the Tehseen Poonawala judgement, in which nodal officers were to be appointed to take note of hate crimes and register FIRs across the nation.

In 2018, the Apex Court had issued guidelines for both the Central and State governments to control and prevent the increasing number of hate crimes, including mob violence and lynching.

The SC guidelines mentioned conduct of trials in fast-tracked courts, victim compensation, deterrent punishment and disciplinary action against lax law-enforcing officials.

The Supreme Court, while issuing the guidelines, had said that offences, including hate crimes, cow vigilantism and lynching, should be nipped in the bud.

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