After SC rebuke, Delhi police make U-turn in ‘hate speech’ case

Days after rebuke by the Supreme Court, Delhi police has made a volte face to lodge an FIR in a case related to hate speech in a religious Dharma Sansad, organised in December, last year. 

In an affidavit, it said the FIR had been lodged in the matter after examining the materials. 

Earlier, it had claimed no case was made out in the matter. “There is no use of such words which would mean or could be interpreted as ‘open call for genocide of Muslims’ in order to achieve ethnic cleansing or an open call for murder of an entire community in the speech,” it had previously said. 

In its fresh response, the police said all the links of the speeches made in the complaint and other materials were analysed. 

Also read | Hate speech and law: Narsinghanand and Akbaruddin not exceptions but the rule

One video recording of the programme was found on YouTube. After further verification, the FIR under Sections 153A, 295A, 298 and 34 of the IPC was registered with Okhla Industrial Area police station on May 4, it said.

The Delhi police had earlier told the court they have closed complaints with regard to alleged hate speech at Dharma Sansad, saying after evaluation of the video clips, it was found that those did not contain any hate words against a particular community. 

“Has any superior officer verified this? Has he merely reproduced the inquiry report or applied his mind?…. Is it your stand as well….is there just the reproduction of the inquiry report of the sub inspector level officer?” the court had on April 22 asked Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High court judge Anjana Prakash, had questioned the stand by the Delhi police. 

The law officer had then agreed to file a “better affidavit”.

The court has been examining the plea for direction to act against those allegedly making hate speeches in religious programmes organised at states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. It has put the matter for further hearing on May 9.

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