The Delhi High Court on Tuesday listed for hearing on February 2 petitions concerning the 2020 North East Delhi riots, including those pertaining to alleged hate speeches by certain political leaders, and asked the Centre to state if the speeches in question are the subject of proceedings before the Supreme Court.
"If these hate speeches are a subject matter before the Supreme Court, what are we going to do? Please let us know next week. These issues can’t be agitated simultaneously," remarked the court which was hearing a plea by Shaikh Mujtaba Farooq for the registration of FIRs against some BJP leaders for allegedly having made hate speeches.
The central government lawyer said several petitions related to hate speeches are pending before the top court and are coming up for hearing next month.
The court then deferred the hearing on the plea by Farooq along with some other petitions related to the riots and granted time to the Centre’s lawyer to obtain instructions on its query.
"Let us find out what is pending before the Supreme Court," said the bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Farooq, who has sought registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma, and Abhay Verma, over their alleged hate speeches, submitted on dates which were "proximate" to the violence they made statements to incite riots.
Apart from seeking action for the alleged hate speeches made in the backdrop of the introduction of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, there are petitions which have sought other reliefs which include setting up of an SIT, FIRs against police officers who were allegedly involved in the violence, and disclosure of persons arrested and detained.
Petitioner 'Lawyers Voice' has sought registration of hate speech FIRs against Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as well as Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan, AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, former AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan, Mehmood Pracha, Harsh Mander, Mufti Mohammad Ismail, Swara Bhasker, Umar Khalid, BG Kolse Patil — former Bombay High Court Judge-- and others.
The police had earlier said they have already created three special investigation teams (SITs) under the crime branch and there was no evidence till now that its officers were involved in violence or that political leaders instigated or participated in the disturbances.
Police said prima facie investigation has indicated it was not a case of any sporadic or spontaneous violence "but appears to be a part of a well thought of conspiracy to destabilise the harmony in the society".
Authorities acted promptly, vigilantly, and effectively without any fear or favour and in a professional manner to control the law and order situation in the affected areas and to save life and property of people during the 2020 North East Delhi riots, the police have claimed.
Last year, the court had allowed several amendment applications seeking to implead various political leaders as parties to the proceedings seeking registration of FIRs and investigation against them for allegedly delivering hate speeches leading to the violence.
The Supreme Court, in an order of December 2021, had requested the high court to dispose of expeditiously, preferably within three months, a plea seeking registration of FIRs against politicians for their alleged hate speeches which purportedly led to the riots.