A day after the Supreme Court order on 'dharam sansad' events where hate speeches were given, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal on Thursday wrote to authorities in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand seeking prevention of inflammatory speeches at more such events planned this month.
"We are in the midst of general elections to the legislative assembly and while we do not want to attribute motives to any person, but if such speeches are made in the midst of an election, they will destabilize the social order and have serious consequences on the polity of this country." "We request you to take such preventative action within your powers as is necessary, including under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and Sections 3 and 5 of the National Security Act, 1980," Sibal said in his letter.
He has also sent copies of his letters to chief ministers, home secretaries and police chiefs of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand besides the superintendents of police in Aligarh and Haridwar. A copy was also sent to the Election Commission. "There are news reports now that another 'dharam sansad' is being organised now in Aligarh on January 22-23, 2022 wherein the speakers who participated in the aforementioned events held between 17-19th December, 2021 are likely to be speaking again," Sibal said in his letter to Aligarh DM.
In another letter to Haridwar DM, he said, "There are news reports now that the Shankaracharya Parishad seers announced on 06.01.2022 a protest meeting to be held on January 16, 2022 against the first information report (FIR) registered against speakers at the December 17-19 meeting of the Dharma Sansad."
The senior Congress leader said the responsibility to take preventive measures to prevent any possible incident of mob violence falls on the district administration, "so the responsibility falls on your shoulders to take preventive action to ensure no speeches of this nature are made". "We believe if such events are held in the state of Uttar Pradesh as well and similar speeches are made, it will not only disturb the public order but will amount to various criminal offences...," Sibal noted.
He also referred to the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Tehseen Poonawala versus Union of India case, where the state government was directed to appoint nodal officers in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence. These nodal officers have not been appointed in Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Cort had issued notice to the respondents and posted the matter for hearing after 10 days.
The top court was hearing a petition filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court judge and senior advocate Anjana Prakash, who have also sought a direction for an "independent, credible and impartial investigation" by an SIT into the incidents of hate speeches against the Muslim community.
With inputs from PTI.