SC shuts contempt plea against Delhi police in hate speech case

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday closed activist Tushar Gandhi’s contempt plea against the Delhi Police after taking note of submissions that a charge sheet in a case of hate speeches made at religious assemblies in the national capital in 2021 was filed in a court here.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala considered the submissions of Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for the Delhi Police, that a charge sheet after conclusion of the investigation was filed in a court of the Metropolitan Magistrate here on April 4.

“In view of the filing of the charge sheet, it is not expedient in the interest of justice to continue with the present contempt petition,” the bench said.

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The bench refused to direct Delhi police that a copy of the charge sheet be made available to Gandhi, who is not part of the proceedings before the trial court.

“Now the charge sheet is filed, our role has come to an end,” the bench said, adding that now the proceedings in the trial court will be conducted as per the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Earlier, the Delhi Police had said the investigation into the case was at an advanced stage and a probe report will be filed shortly.

Nataraj had said that the police were expecting a Forensic Science Laboratory report on voice samples of the accused and the charge sheet will be filed after that.

The hate speech case is related to a Hindu Yuva Vahini event organised in Delhi under the leadership of Suresh Chavhanke, the editor of ‘Sudarshan News’, in December 2021.

Lawyer Shadan Farasat, appearing for activist Gandhi, had said the police did not take any concrete steps to prevent such hate speeches.

The apex court had on January 13 posed a volley of questions to the Delhi Police over the delay in registration of FIR and “no palpable progress” in the investigation of a case of hate speeches made at religious assemblies in the national capital in 2021 and sought a report from the investigating officer.

The top court was hearing a contempt petition filed by Gandhi alleging inaction by the Uttarakhand Police and Delhi Police in alleged hate speech cases.

On November 11 last year, the bench had discharged the Uttarakhand government and its police chief from a list of parties to the contempt plea.

The contempt petition was filed seeking punishment for the police chiefs of Delhi and Uttarakhand for their alleged inaction in the cases in violation of the apex court judgement in the Tehseen Poonawala case.

In the judgement, the top court had laid down guidelines as to what action needed to be taken in hate crimes, including mob lynching.

In his petition, the activist sought contempt action against senior police officers for not taking any steps in accordance with the top court’s guidelines meant to curb hate speeches and mob lynching.

The plea claimed that immediately after the events took place, the speeches were available in public domain, still the Uttarakhand Police and the Delhi Police did not act against the offenders.

The hate speeches were made at the ‘dharma sansad’ held in Haridwar from December 17 to 19, 2021 and in Delhi on December 19, 2021, the petition alleged.

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( With inputs from )

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