Hate Speech : Supreme Court Gives Liberty To Petitioners To Move Vacation Bench In Relation To Proposed Dharam Sansad Events In June-July

Update: 2022-05-19 14:46 GMT

The Supreme Court on Thursday granted liberty to the petitioners who have filed a PIL seeking action against alleged hate speeches in Dharam Sansad meets to move the vacation bench with respect to any hate speech in the upcoming Dharam Sansand events in June-July (when the Court is closed for summer vacations).

A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Abhay S Oka and JB Pardiwala was hearing the PIL filed by journalist Qurban Ali and Senior Advocate and former Patna High Court judge Anjana Prakash.

"If any urgent orders are required before the next date of hearing, it will be open to the parties to seek appropriate relief before the vacation bench", the bench said accepting the request of Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal.

Sibal, for petitioners who have moved the Court in respect of the Dharam Sansad events held at Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, told the bench, "In the summer vacations, the Dharam Sansads will continue to be held. Some guidelines are needed. We inform the collector, the SP , but it still goes on..."

Justice Khanwilkar: "The guidelines are there. And this will have to be dealt with at the appropriate time. We cannot anticipate that it will happen and therefore, invite it"
Mr. Sibal: "Despite the guidelines, they are doing it. That is the issue"
Justice Khanwilkar: "We have to dispose off those cases after hearing"
Mr. Sibal: "I am saying that in the meantime, the same problem may arise. When the communal frenzy takes place, people get hurt. Innocent people get hurt"
Justice Khanwilkar: "That is why we asked if any urgent order has to be passed. If you have moved a separate application, we can look into it"
Mr. Sibal: "Yes, we have moved an application"
Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora, also for one of the petitioners: "In my writ petition, I have stated that the same person is making speeches in the Dharam Sansads and that the authority should be asked to reveal what steps and actions they have taken. Unless your lordships give the direction to file that report, actions do not get taken, and the person has the propensity or audacity to go and repeat that incident"
Justice Khanwilkar: "Have you made that person party in this writ petition?"
Ms. Arora: "The person may not have been named but the incidents have been specifically indicated"
Mr. Sibal: "Your Lordships may say that in case anything takes place, we will be at liberty to move the vacation bench"
The bench then passed the following order- "If any urgent orders are required before the next date of hearing, it will be open to the parties to seek appropriate relief before the vacation bench."
Earlier, the bench had directed the Uttarakhand Government to ensure that no hate speech occurs in the Dharam Sansad event which was planned there. The bench had also expressed dissatisfaction at an affidavit filed by the Delhi Police which stated that the statements made by Sudarshan TV Editor Suresh Chavhanke at the Hindu Yuva Vahini event in Delhi in December 2021 did not amount to hate speech. Following the Court's reprimand, the Delhi Police
filed a revised affidavit
stating that they have registered an FIR with respect to the event.

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