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Plea Seeking To Stop Alleged Attacks Against Christians : Supreme Court To Hear On August 16

Sohini Chowdhury
5 Aug 2022 4:30 PM GMT
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In a plea seeking directions to stop the alleged attack against Christian communities and their institutions in the country, at the request of the Solicitor General, the Supreme Court, on Friday, adjourned the matter allowing him to file a short response.

A Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and J.B. Pardiwala clarified that it will not get into the enquiry of individual cases. It noted that the judgment in Tehseen Poonawalla v. Union of India, wherein the Apex Court had issued a slew of directions regarding mob violence and lynching, already being in place, in the present proceedings the Court merely has to see if the framework is being followed by the State Government.

Senior Advocate, Mr. Colin Gonsalves, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, apprised the Bench that the petition seeks relief similar to the ones in Tehseen Poonawalla case. But, added that some tweaking to the Poonawalla judgment would be required in the context of the present case.

As the Bench was inclined to issue notice, Solicitor General, Mr. Tushar Mehta sought permission to file a reply. He beseeched the Bench to consider his response before issuing notice in the matter.

Archbishop Of Bangalore Diocese Dr. Peter Machado along with the National Solidarity Forum, the Evangelical Fellowship of India are the petitioners herein.

According to the petition, the present PIL has been filed against the "sinister phenomena of violence" and "targeted hate speech" against the Christian community of the country by vigilante groups and members of right-wing organizations. It submits that such violence has been rising owing to the failure of the State machinery to protect its own citizens.

The petition argues that there is failure by the Central and State Governments and other State machineries in taking immediate and necessary actions against groups that have caused widespread violence and hate speech against the Christian community including attacks at their places of worship and other institutions run by them.

Directions Sought:

The petition has sought setting up of Special Investigation Teams with officers from outside the States where the incidents set out to register FIRs, conduct criminal investigations and prosecute the criminal offenders in accordance with law

Further directions have been sought to the SITs to file closure reports in accordance with law, where false counter FIRs have been filed by the assailants against the victims.

The petitioners have sought directions for an order directing each state to provide police protection for prayer meetings, and directing the SITs to identify and prosecute such members of the political/social organizations who conspired and instigated the assaults as described in this petition.

The petition has sought further orders directing the State Governments to properly assess the damage caused to property and pay compensation accordingly, and set up a website and make information available on all these trials-state wise relating to instances of communal violence against the Christian community

Further directions have been sought to the State Governments to pay compensation to all members of the victim community who were illegally arrested, and prosecute police officials who fail in their constitutionally mandated duty to enforce the law of the land, by being complicit in attacks against religious minorities, and by shielding the attackers or otherwise scuttling due process of law.

The petitioners rely upon the directions issued by the Supreme Court in 2018 to control mob lynching in the Tehseen Poonawalla case.

[Case Title: Most Rev Peter v UOI & Ors.]

Click here to read/download the order

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