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Supreme Court To Hear Army Veteran's Plea For SIT Probe Into Alleged Hate Speech In Dharam Sansad Events

Mehal Jain
22 April 2022 9:05 AM GMT
Supreme Court To Hear Army Veterans Plea For SIT Probe Into Alleged Hate Speech In Dharam Sansad Events
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The Supreme Court on Friday considered a petition filed by three retired officers of the Armed Forces seeking probe by a new Special Investigation Team into the alleged hate speeches delivered at the Dharam Sansad religious events organised at Haridwar and Delhi between 17th and 19th December 2021.A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Abhay S Oka posted the petition on May 9 along with...

The Supreme Court on Friday considered a petition filed by three retired officers of the Armed Forces seeking probe by a new Special Investigation Team into the alleged hate speeches delivered at the Dharam Sansad religious events organised at Haridwar and Delhi between 17th and 19th December 2021.

A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Abhay S Oka posted the petition on May 9 along with an earlier PIL - filed by journalist Qurban Ali and Senior Advocate Anjana Prakash -seeking similar action against hate speech.

The writ petition has been filed by Major General SG Vombatkere, Colonel PK Nair and Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury through Advocates Senthil Jagadeesan and Vinayak Bhandari.

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioners, submitted : "We are highly decorated officers of the Army. The regiments and the troops which they have controlled during their careers, those subordinate to them, are drawn from various and different communities. The petition is essentially directed against aspects of hate speech which were made between 17th and 19th of December 2021. Apart from Union of India, the two respondents are Uttarakhand and the Government of NCT"

Justice Khanwilkar referred to the status report filed by Uttarakhand in the previous matter: "We will keep this matter on May 9. Go through the response of Uttarakhand. If the issue still survives after that response…"

Mr. Diwan: "The issue has survived. We have given translation of the speech along with the minutes etc"

Justice Khanwilkar: "What we want to indicate is this that Mr. Sibal raised something about Uttarakhand but he did not press it because of perhaps the response or otherwise. You also see the response and if something still remains, we will see. We will have it on May 9"

The bench then passed the following order- "This is a fresh writ petition concerning events which unfolded in the state of Uttarakhand and at Delhi. As regards the state of Uttarakhand, in the previous matter, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal has indicated that he was not pursuing those applications concerning the state of Uttarakhand. It is possible that the issues raised by the applicant in the previous matter pertaining to events unfolded in the state of Uttarakhand may be similar to the issues raised in the present writ petition. We therefore permit the petitioner in this case to serve advance copy on the standing counsel for the state of Uttarakhand so that this matter can proceed if required on May 9, 2022. We direct the copy of the reply filed in the earlier matter on behalf of state of Uttarakhand to be made over the advocate on record appearing in this writ petition. Counsel for Delhi/Commissioner of police for Delhi may also handover copy of reply affidavits filed in the leading case including the additional affidavits"

From their personal experience, the petitioners have opined that such hate speeches can even affect the battle efficiency of our Armed Forces and in turn compromise national security. The petitioners have argued that such incitement to violence together with public expressions of hate constitute a serious breach of internal security and could also tear apart the social character of our nation.

Further, according to the petitioners such unchecked cries inciting violence against specific communities can have a serious impact on the morale and integration of the soldiers in the armed forces who come from diverse communities and religions. The petition has pointed out that Five former chiefs of staff of the Armed Forces and over a hundred other people including veterans, bureaucrats, and prominent citizens have issued an Open Statement addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the "open call of the genocide of Indian Muslims", on 31st December 2021.

Also Read :  "File Better Affidavit" : Supreme Court Expresses Dissatisfaction At Delhi Police Stand That No Hate Speeches Were Made At Hindu Yuva Vahini Event

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