Delhi, 30th January 2023: The Delhi Police told the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday that its investigation into the hate speech delivered at religious congregations in the national capital during 2021 has been largely completed. They will soon file the final investigation report on this in court.
A bench of Chief Justice (CJI) DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala said it would hear the matter after three weeks after hearing the arguments of Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the Delhi Police.
The case of hate speech is related to the editor of a media channel in December 2021. The Supreme Court has also asked the Delhi Police to file an affidavit regarding this. The court sought details of the steps taken by the authorities so far in this matter. Earlier, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that Justice Narasimha appeared as a lawyer in one of the related cases. Besides this, Mehta also referred to a separate petition filed against a TV channel on the issue of hate speeches. He urged that this matter also be listed together for hearing.
At the same time, in another case, advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for social activist Tushar Gandhi, said the police have not taken any concrete steps to stop such hate speeches. The top court had on 13th January pulled up the Delhi Police for the delay in registering an FIR and no concrete progress in the investigation of a case of hate speeches delivered at religious congregations in the national capital in 2021. The court had also sought a report from the investigating officer on this.
The bench asked, “What are you doing in the context of the investigation? The incident took place on 19th December; the FIR was registered five months later, on 4th May 2022. Why did it take you so long for this? How many arrests have been made? How many people have you checked?”
The Additional Solicitor General said that the Delhi Police has not committed any contempt of the Supreme Court judgment in the Tehseen Poonawalla case. Many instructions were given to deal with a hate crime. He said Gandhi cannot give directions as to how the probe agency should function. The apex court was hearing that contempt petition filed by Gandhi. Uttarakhand and Delhi Police were accused of not taking any concrete action in hate speech cases. The bench had on 11th November last year struck off the Uttarakhand government and its police chief from the list of parties to the contempt petition.
A petition was filed demanding action against the police chiefs of Delhi and Uttarakhand in the Tehseen Poonawala case. In its judgement, the apex court had laid down guidelines as to what action needs to be taken in hate crimes, including mob lynching. The petition alleged that hate speech was made at the ‘Dharma Sansad’ held in Haridwar from 17th December to 19th December 2021, and in Delhi on 19th December 2021. The petition also claimed that those speeches were available in the public domain after the event. Still, Uttarakhand Police and Delhi Police did not take action against the criminals.