7 July 2023 7:00 AM GMT
The Supreme Court of India on Friday issued notice in a contempt petition against Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand that was filed after an interview in which he allegedly made disparaging remarks about the top court and the Indian Constitution, went viral on the internet.A division bench of Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh was hearing a petition filed by activist Shachi Nelli....
The Supreme Court of India on Friday issued notice in a contempt petition against Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand that was filed after an interview in which he allegedly made disparaging remarks about the top court and the Indian Constitution, went viral on the internet.
A division bench of Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh was hearing a petition filed by activist Shachi Nelli. Although the bench agreed to issue notice to the respondent and seek his response, no returnable date was given.
In January 2022, activist Shachi Nelli wrote to the Attorney-General of India seeking consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, alias Deepak Tyagi – controversial religious figure and accused in Haridwar ‘Dharam Sansad’ hate speech case – over his ‘derogatory’ remarks against the Constitution and the Supreme Court.
Narasinghanand has gained notoriety for his rhetoric against Muslims and women. Under the scanner is a viral interview in which the Meerut-born priest allegedly said that the Constitution will ‘consume’ the 100 crore Hindus in the country and those who believe in this charter and the extant system will ‘die the death of a dog’, when asked about the court proceedings in the ‘Dharam Sansad’ case. His remarks, as excerpted in Nelli’s letter, were:
“We have no trust in the Supreme Court of India and the Constitution. The Constitution will consume the 100 crore Hindus of this country. Those who believe in this Constitution will be killed. Those who believe in this system, in these politicians, in the Supreme Court and in the Army will all die the death of a dog.”
The letter also referred to another portion of the same interview where the right-wing leader – on the issue of the arrests made by the police in the case – said, “When Jitendra Singh Tyagi went by the name Wasim Rizvi and wrote his book, not a single policeman, not one of these ‘hijde’ policeman or politician had the courage to arrest him.”
Nelli alleged that the comments made by Yati Narsinghanand sought to “undermine the majesty of the institution and the authority vested in the Supreme Court of India”, and was “a vile and clear attempt at interfering in the course of justice by means of abusive rhetoric and baseless attacks on the integrity of the Constitution and the courts”.
In the same month, the then attorney-general KK Venugopal granted consent to initiate contempt proceedings against the ‘Dharam Sansad’ leader over his remarks about the Supreme Court and the Constitution, noting that they were a direct attempt to lower the authority of the Supreme Court in the minds of the general public.
In October of last year, while hearing the contempt petition filed by Nelli after the attorney-general’s sanction, the apex court sought the transcripts of the interview in which Narsinghanand had allegedly made the contentious remarks.
Shachi Nelli v. Yati Narsinghanand @ Deepak Tyagi | Diary No. 8284 of 2023
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