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Hate speech at Delhi event: Expressing dissatisfaction at police's affidavit, SC asks to file "better affidavit"

ANI | Updated: Apr 22, 2022 15:18 IST

New Delhi [India], April 22 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday expressed dissatisfaction with the affidavit filed by the Delhi Police which stated that there were no instances of hate speech against the Muslim community at the event of Hindu Yuva Vahini held in Delhi held on December 19 last year and asked it to file a "better affidavit".
Delhi Police conceded before a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and AS Oka that it needs to have a relook at its affidavit and it will file a fresh affidavit.
In its affidavit, the Delhi police had said that "no specific words against any particular community were used". It had also submitted that the speech by Sudarshan News TV Editor Suresh Chavhanke at the Hindu Yuva Vahini event in Delhi's Govindpuri did not amount to hate speech since none of the words used in the speech by Chavhanke could create an environment of paranoia against any religion.
"There is no use of such words which mean or could be interpreted as open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing or an open call for the murder of an entire community in the speech," the affidavit had stated.
Today during the hearing, the bench asked if the concerned officer who filed the affidavit had put any thought into it or merely reproduced the enquiry report.
The top court asked, "We want to know that the senior officer has understood the nuances of other aspects before filing this affidavit. Has he merely reproduced the enquiry report or applied his mind? Do you want to take a relook?"
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) KM Nataraj, appearing for Delhi Police, said, "We have to take a re-look and file a fresh affidavit."
Asking the Delhi Police to file a "better affidavit" within two weeks the apex court posted the case for further hearing on May 9.
The bench was a hearing filed by former High Court judge and senior advocate Anjana Prakash and journalist Qurban Ali seeking an independent probe into the alleged hate speech targeting the Muslim community delivered at the Dharm Sansad in Haridwar and Delhi.
At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioners submitted that the Delhi Police had tried to justify the "call to kill" as a measure to "save ethics of the community".
Sibal said, "They say they are ready to kill. The police say this is to save the ethics of the community. This court may have to decide constitutionally what the ethics are."

The apex court in its order noted, "At the outset, Sibal invited our attention to the extracts of the speech and the enquiry report of the Sub Inspector (Police Station Okhla Industrial Area) on March 24, 2022, as also the counter-affidavit filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police reiterating the same position. In the backdrop of this, the ASG seeks time to get instructions from authorities to file a better affidavit. Two weeks time prayed for. List this matter on May 9. Better affidavit be filed on or before May 9."
Meanwhile, counsel appearing for the Uttarkhand government submitted that the investigation in the cases has been completed and chargesheets have been filed.
Sibal also submitted that the petitioners have filed a fresh interlocutory application with respect to the Dharm Sansad event held in Himachal Pradesh last week and that "scandalous" things were said at the event. The bench posted the case for hearing on April 26.
The bench also posted another plea filed by three retired officers of the Armed Forces seeking a probe by a new Special Investigation Team into the hate speeches delivered at religious events organised in Haridwar and Delhi between December 17 and 19 December 2021, for May 9.
The affidavit of the Delhi police had stated that police conducted a preliminary enquiry on the complaints against the event and examined the video recordings of the speeches made and based on the investigations, all the complaints filed regarding the event are closed.
It had stated, "In-depth investigation of the video and other material found that no hate speech was given against any community. Therefore, after investigation and evaluation of the purported video clip, it was concluded that the alleged speech contained no hate speech against a particular community."
The affidavit of the Delhi police further submitted that the event and speeches in Delhi were about empowering one's religion to prepare itself to face evils that could endanger its existence. The police also claimed that there must be "tolerance to the views of others."
The plea had stated that between December 17 and 19, 2021, at two separate events organised in Delhi (by the Hindu Yuva Vahini) and Haridwar (by Yati Narsinghanand), hate speeches were made, consisting of open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing.
The Delhi police had also refuted the claims of being hand in gloves with the perpetrators of communal hatred since the investigation is based on the evidence of a videotape and there is no scope of tampering with it.
The plea said that it is relevant to note that no action has been taken by the Uttarakhand and Delhi Police in relation to the event held there despite the fact that open calls for genocide, which are available on the internet, were made therein.
The plea has also highlighted a video that had gone viral where apolice officer was seen acknowledging his allegiance to the offenders. (ANI)