‘Will file a better affidavit’, Delhi Police to SC on hate speech at Delhi meet

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NEW DELHI : The Delhi Police on Friday conceded before the Supreme Court that it needed to re-examine its affidavit saying that the speakers at a religious meet organised by Hindu Yuva Vahini on December 19, 2021, made no hate speeches against the Muslim community. The Delhi Police said it will file a “better affidavit”.

At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, said the Delhi Police said an inquiry was conducted into the matter, and justified that persons had gathered to save ‘ethics of their community’.

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The Delhi Police, in its 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”.

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 relook”.

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 top court gave Delhi Police two weeks to file an affidavit and scheduled the matter for further hearing on May 9. The bench said that the police should file a better affidavit on or before May 4.

In the affidavit, the Delhi Police said some complaints were lodged alleging that hate speech was made at the event organised here by the ‘Hindu Yuva Vahini’ on December 19 last year and all those complaints were consolidated and an inquiry was conducted.

The Delhi Police said the speech made by Sudarshan News TV Editor Suresh Chavhanke at the meet didn’t amount to hate speech against any particular community.

The Delhi Police said that in the video clip of the incident, there was no utterance against any particular section or community. “Hence, after inquiry and after evaluation of the alleged video clip, it was concluded that the alleged speech did not disclose any hate words against a particular community as alleged or otherwise,” said the counter affidavit filed by Delhi Police.

The police said, “There is 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”.

The affidavit added, “It is pertinent to mention here that no hate was expressed in the events at Delhi against any group, community, ethnicity, religion or faith, the speech was about empowering one’s religion to prepare itself to face the evils which could endanger its existence, which is not evenly remotely connected to call for genocide of any particular religion.”

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. — IANS

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