Days after the Supreme Court pulled up Delhi police on its affidavit in hate speech case at a Dharam Sansad, the police have made a U-turn and told the court it registered an FIR after examining the materials.
In a fresh affidavit, the police said that all links given in the complaint and other materials available in public domain were analysed, and a video was found on YouTube. “After further minute verification of the materials, FIR dated May 4,2022 has been registered at police station Okhla Industrial Area for offences of Section 153A, 295A, 298, and 34 of the Indian Penal Codea,” said the affidavit. The police said the investigation will be carried out in accordance with law.
The Delhi Police, in its earlier affidavit, said: “The findings of the inquiry after visual and audio examination of the evidence further disclose that the speech did not contain any hate words against a particular community, and persons who gathered there with a motive to save the ethics of their community”. The police said there was no use of such words which mean or could be interpreted as open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing or an open call for murder of an entire community’ in the speech.
On April 22, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, said the Delhi Police said an inquiry was conducted into the matter, and justified that person gathered to save ‘ethics of their community’.
Sibal said: “Your lordships may have to decide constitutionally, what ethics are?” A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar noted that the affidavit was filed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police and queried Additional Solicitor General (ASG) K M Nataraj, “Do you accept this position….we want to understand…..Has any superior officer verified this?”
The bench, also comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka, said: “We want to know that the senior officer has understood the nuances of other aspects before filing this affidavit. Has he merely reproduced an inquiry report or applied his mind? Do you want to take a relook?”
Justice Khanwilkar further queried: “Is it your stand as well… the reproduction of the inquiry report of the sub-inspector level officer?”
Nataraj, representing the Delhi Police, said: “We have to take a re-look”.
Justice Khanwilkar asked Nataraj: “Do you want to have a relook at the whole matter?…Is this the stand of Commissioner of Police, Delhi?”
Nataraj submitted that a fresh affidavit will be filed, after taking instructions from the authorities concerned. The top court noted that the ASG sought more time to file a better affidavit in the matter.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea — filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court judge and senior advocate Anjana Prakash — seeking direction to ensure investigation and action against those who allegedly made hate speeches during events held in Haridwar and Delhi, last year. The top court is scheduled to take up the matter for further hearing on May 9.