The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to list on July 11 a petition which seeks directions to stop the attack against Christian community and their institutions in the country.
Senior Advocate Dr Colin Gonsalves mentioned the petition before a vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala for urgent listing saying that the attacks against Christian institutions are on the rise in the country. He submitted that in the month of May, 57 cases of violence were reported, the highest in a month so far, and more such attacks are apprehended.
"When the Court was closed for vacation, the highest number of attacks took place. We anticipate more", Gonsalves submitted.
"What you are saying is unfortunate, if it is happening everyday. What we can ensure is that your matter is listed on the re-opening day itself", Justice Surya Kant submitted.
Gonsalves submitted that he was trying to get a listing so that notice can be issued to the respondents. He submitted that though the matter was directed to be placed on board, it has not been listed so far.
"We can't comment on the merits. We can ensure that the matter is listed on re-opening", Justice Kant said.
Archbishop Of Bangalore Diocese Dr. Peter Machado along with the National Solidarity Forum, the Evangelical Fellowship of India are the petitioners.
On April 26, when urgent listing of the petition was sought, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana commented, "No date, there's no urgency. Inspite of that, we marked the bench. Nothing will happen, heavens don't fall".
According to the petitioners, they have filed the present PIL 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 is the petitioners' case that such violence has been rising owing to the failure of the State machinery to protect its own citizens.
The petitioners have argued 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.
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.