21 Oct 2022 11:07 AM GMT
"This is the 21st century! Where have we reached in the name of religion?", the Supreme Court lamented on Friday while hearing a plea against hate-speechesThe bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy was considering a petition seeking the urgent intervention to stop the growing menace of targeting and terrorizing the Muslim community in India. "Article 51A says we...
"This is the 21st century! Where have we reached in the name of religion?", the Supreme Court lamented on Friday while hearing a plea against hate-speeches
The bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy was considering a petition seeking the urgent intervention to stop the growing menace of targeting and terrorizing the Muslim community in India.
"Article 51A says we should develop a scientific temper. And where have we reached in the name of religion? It is tragic", Justice Joseph remarked during the hearing.
At the start of the hearing itself, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioners said, "We shouldn't be coming to this court."
He also pointed out the administration and the even the Supreme Court have not been taking action in spite of the multiple complaints raised, except for calling status reports.
"Silence certainly is not an answer. Not on our part, not on the court's part", he said.
He further said that, "These people are participating in events on the daily basis". The Senior Advocate even took the court through certain statements made by a BJP MP Parvesh Varma. Sibal said that during an event in Delhi, Varma had said to not encourage Muslim shop owners and that, if need be, "their throats would be slit".
Expressing their shock, the Bench further asked if Muslims were also involving themselves in hate speeches.
"If they would, would they be spared?", Sibal asked rhetorically while adding that even they should be dealt with strictly under the law, if such instances ever present itself.
Justice Roy then said that "statements are indeed disturbing" especially for a country that's a democracy and religion neutral. But only statements against one community were brought before the court, he said. The Apex Court cannot be seen as an institution to target anyone, the Judge said to which Sibal agreed.
"These kind of statements by anyone is condemnable", Justice Roy added.
After the hearing, the bench issued a set of interim directions (separate report on the directions can be read here).
The petitioner sought direction to the Union of India and the State Governments to initiate independent, credible and impartial investigation into the incidents of hate crimes and hate speeches. The petitioner also prayed for directions to initiate appropriate action under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other relevant penal laws against the speakers and organizations engaging in such hate crimes.
The petitioners further added that, "No action seems to be forthcoming against the speakers or the parties that organize such events where genocidal and hateful speeches are delivered." "In most cases, minimal action of merely registering FIRs and that too under lesser offences, is the only thing that is done by the authorities which seems to be more of a formality than any genuine initiation of the criminal machinery", the petition added.
Case Title: Shaheen Abdulla v. UoI And Ors. WP(C) No. 940/2022 PIL
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