HC gives Centre 1 month for reply on BJP leaders' hate speeches

New Delhi, Feb 27
The Delhi High Court on Thursday gave the central government over a month's time to file its reply on a petition seeking immediate arrest of three BJP leaders for allegedly inciting violence in northeast Delhi.

A Division Bench of Justices D.N. Patel and C. Harishankar passed the order following submissions made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that it is not "conducive" to file FIRs in the matter at present. The matter will now be heard on April 13.

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The court was hearing a petition filed by social activist Harsh Mander praying for arresting of BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and Parvesh Verma for inciting violence in the national capital.

During the course of proceedings, Mehta sought more time to file a counter-affidavit in the plea and said, "Authorities have examined all the material. We have decided to defer the registration of FIR. It is not conducive at the moment, FIR will be registered at an appropriate time."

On the other hand, Delhi government's standing counsel, Rahul Mehra, told the court that over 11 FIRs have been registered till now. "FIR is only an initiation. It does not mean that they have to be arrested. Paramount responsibly is the well-being of every citizen."

Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, pressed the court to order immediate registration of FIRs against the three BJP leaders.

"If the speech is resulting in murders, then these three and others are responsible for murder. You can link the act of violence with their provocative speeches. FIR has to be registered immediately," he said.

On Wednesday, a bench comprising Justices S. Muralidhar and Talwant Singh had directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to "take a conscious decision" by Thursday on registration of FIR in respect of inflammatory speeches.