'Can't handle that', says CJI Bobde as Supreme Court agrees to hear plea seeking FIRs against BJP leaders over their hate speech; matter to be heard today
A similar plea is pending before the Delhi High Court, which will be taken up for next hearing on 13 April. On 27 February, the bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar deferred the hearing by four weeks based on the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on behalf of the Delhi Police.
The plea filed by some of the riot victims was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, which said it would be heard today.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, urged the bench to intervene in the matter without undue favour being meted out to influential persons.
Among other things, the petitioners have also demanded a Special Investigation Team be formed, with officers from outside Delhi to probe the riots, deployment of Army to maintain law and order and constitution of an Inquiry Committee
"We can't handle that," said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, while hearing a plea demanding FIR against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma for their hate speeches.
Asserting that the task to control violence during riots is that of the Executive and not the judiciary, Bobde said, "We cannot stop things from happening. We cannot give preventive reliefs. We feel a kind of pressure on us. We can only deal with the situation after it occurs, the kind of pressure on us, we can’t handle that. It’s like Court is responsible. We are reading newspapers, we know the kind of comments are made. Courts come on to the scene after the thing is done and courts have not been able to prevent such a thing."
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the plea on today.
Bobde further added that the apex court wishes for peace but has its own limitations, where it only comes into the picture when something has happened and can pass appropriate orders. The statements were made by the CJI on Monday when the Supreme Court agreed to hear plea by victims of Delhi violence, which led to the killing of 47 people. The petition sought immediate FIRs against BJP leaders who delivered hate speeches, which the petitioners have claimed added fuel to the Delhi riots which began on 23 February.
Among other things, the petitioners have also demanded a Special Investigation Team be formed, with officers from outside Delhi to probe the riots, deployment of Army to maintain law and order and constitution of an Inquiry Committee headed by a retired judge to probe the alleged involvement of Delhi Police personnel in the violence. Other demands include:
- Award of exemplary compensation to all victims;
- Direction to make public the full list of persons detained by the police and paramilitary;
- Direction for ensuring that the State provide access for those detained to legal counsel;
- Directions to provide cooked food to affected families in riot-hit areas, and in hospitals and detention areas;
- Direction to preserve all CCTV footage of riot affected areas;
- Direction for the immediate release of postmortem reports;
- Direction for a probe by a retired judge into the communal riots, and for the identification of policemen involved in rioting and criminal conduct so that they may be dismissed from service in accordance with law.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, urged the Supreme Court bench to intervene in the matter without undue favour being meted out to "influential" persons, Bar and Bench reported.
Gonsalves also told the bench that the Delhi High Court has deferred the pleas on Delhi violence for four weeks despite the fact that people are still dying. "When people are still dying then why can't the high court hear it urgently," he said, urging the apex court to list the plea for urgent hearing.
'Courts not equipped to control riots': CJI SA Bobde
Replying to Gonsalves, CJI Bobde remarked that court wanted to broker peace even though there are limitations on its functioning. He said that the court's responsibility lies in passing appropriate orders once the event has happened. The CJI also sad that courts are not equipped to control riots and it is the job of the executive.
Hearing the plea, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde remarked that the Supreme Court wishes for peace but has its own limitations, whereby it only comes into the picture when something has happened and passes appropriate orders.
However, Gonsalves argued that the court can prevent the situation from deteriorating, Live Law reported.
The plea also sought directions to make public the full list of persons detained by the police and paramilitary and preserve all CCTV footage of riot-affected areas besides the immediate release of postmortem reports of the deceased.
'Condition not conducive for FIRs': Delhi High Court
A similar plea is pending before the Delhi High Court, which will be taken up for next hearing on 13 April. On 27 February, the bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar deferred the hearing by four weeks based on the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on behalf of the Delhi Police that the "situation was not conducive" for registration of FIR.
Mehta was quoted as saying, "The condition is not conducive at this moment. FIRs will be registered at an appropriate time."
However, the previous day on 26 February, another division bench comprising Justices Dr S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh had directed the Delhi Police to take a "conscious decision" within a day whether an FIR was to be filed with respect to inflammatory speeches allegedly made by BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma.
Day after the bench headed by Justice S Murlidhar castigated the Delhi Police for its 'inaction', the Centre on 27 February transferred the advocate to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, about two weeks after the recommendation by the Supreme Court collegium on 12 February.
With inputs from PTI
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