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Parties can seek relief from vacation bench in case of urgency: SC in Dharm Sansad case

Court lists the matter post vacation on July 21

Sabrangindia 19 May 2022

vacation bench

On May 19, 2022, Supreme Court deferred till July 21, the hearing in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking action against alleged hate speeches made during Dharm Sansad meetings. A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar listed the matter to be heard after the vacation, and in the meantime directed the petitioner that in case of urgency, they can seek appropriate relief from the vacation bench.

The counsel for petitioner, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal repeatedly urged the court to issue guidelines should the Dharm Sansad be held during the summer vacation. He reportedly argued, “If this kind of Dharm Sansad continues to be held during summer vacation, some kind of guidelines should be there. We informed the Collector and Superintendent of Police. Yet it goes on, and same speeches are made."

Justice Khanwilkar responded that the court can be moved at appropriate time whenever required. He was reportedly quoted saying, “We can’t anticipate that it's going to happen and invite it. It goes without saying that the parties are entitled to move the court, and in any case earlier orders are there.”

However, Adv. Sibal reportedly remarked, “Despite guidelines they are doing it and no action is taken. That’s the problem, some day your lordships will have to say something more.”

The bench responded saying that they have to dispose of the cases after hearing. Sibal insisted that it would be too late by the time the Court disposes of the case, deeply concerned about the fact that “when communal frenzy takes place, innocent people get hurt.”

Pressing on the need to issue directions as a preventive measure to avoid such Dharm Sansads from taking place in the future, Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora reportedly added, “In our petition, we seek relief that authorities should be required to file a report as to what action is taken. What’s happening is that the same person is making speeches at different Dharm Sansads. Unless directions are issued they have the audacity to repeat this.”

However, Justice Khanwilkar reportedly said, “We can pass orders with no difficulty. But specific cases should be before us. The law says that!”

The Court concluded the hearing by granting the parties liberty to approach the vacation bench in case of emergency.

Background

Petitions had been filed in the Supreme Court seeking criminal action against the alleged anti-Muslim hate speeches made at the ‘Dharm Sansad’ in Haridwar (Uttarakhand) and Delhi in December 2021.  Alongwith the original petition, the Court was informed about the issue of Dharm Sansad held in Una (Himachal Pradesh) and another upcoming event that was likely to be held in Roorkee (Uttarakhand). The Supreme Court also considered a petition filed by three retired officers of the Armed Forces (Major General SG Vombatkere, Colonel PK Nair and Major Priyadarshi Chowdhary) seeking probe by a new Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the alleged hate speeches delivered at the Dharam Sansad religious events organised at Haridwar and Delhi.

Last month, on April 26, immediately before the upcoming Dharm Sansad in Uttarakhand, the apex court  had sharply pulled up the State government for its failure to explain how it will prevent hate speeches from being made during the upcoming Dharam Sansad scheduled to be held in Roorkee and holding the Chief Secretary of the state responsible for possible lapses, the Court further directed him to place on record the corrective measures to taken by them in case the situation got out of hand. Justice Khanwilkar told the Deputy Advocate General of the State of Uttarakhand Jatinder Kumar Sethi, “You will have to take immediate action. Don't make us say something. There are other ways of preventive action. You know how to do it!”

On behalf of the Chief Secretary when the Counsel for the State of Uttarakhand reassured the Court that they will do their best to prevent any such situation, the Court had lashed out at them saying, “It is your duty, you are not doing us a favour!”

Pursuant to court orders, the Haridwar district administration in Uttarakhand had denied permission to hold a ‘Dharam Sansad’ that was scheduled to take place in Roorkee and imposed Section 144 CrPC prohibiting assembly of more than five people within a five-kilometre radius of the Dada Jalalpur village near Roorkee as reported by Scroll.

The Court had also directed the State of Himachal Pradesh to file an affidavit stating the preventive steps that were taken before the Dharam Sansad event in Una and the implementation of the guidelines previously laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Tehseen Poonawalla v. Union of India (2018) 9 SCC 501. Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners informed the court that the Collector and Superintendent of Police did not do anything to stop the event despite it being brought to their notice. The Court reportedly asked, “There are guidelines in Poonawalla case. Are you following it? No prevention has been taken. You had to stop it. File affidavit showing what preventive actions were taken by you.”

On an earlier occasion, the Supreme Court had expressed its dissatisfaction with the affidavit filed by Delhi Police with respect to the speeches made by Sudarshan News TV Editor Suresh Chavhanke at the Delhi Dharm Sansad in December 2021 and directed them to file a ‘better affidavit’ by May 4, 2022. According to LiveLaw, the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Abhay S Oka orally remarked, “The affidavit has been filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police. We hope he has understood the nuances. Has he merely reproduced the inquiry report or applied his mind? Is it your stand as well or the reproduction of inquiry report of Sub inspector level?”

On May 12, 2022, while hearing the plea filed by Jitendra Tyagi aka Wasim Rizvi challenging the Uttarakhand High Court’s order which refused to grant him bail, Justice Rastogi had reportedly remarked, “Spoiling the atmosphere! Stay together peacefully, enjoy life”, reported LiveLaw.

On May 17, 2022, the Supreme Court granted bail to Jitendra Tyagi alias Wasim Rizvi on medical grounds directed him to give an undertaking that he would not indulge in hate speech and not give any statement to electronic, digital, social media.

Jitendra Tyagi has been charged with Section 153A IPC, (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), an offence which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years.

Related:

Dharam Sansad case: SC grants 3 months interim bail to Jitendra Tyagi in Hate Speech
Dharm Sansads: SC pulls up Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh for lax approach
Jitendra Tyagi’s Dharam Sansad hate speech intended to wage war: Uttarakhand High Court
All of you will die, your children too: Narsinghanand tells Haridwar cops as they arrest Jitendra Tyagi

Parties can seek relief from vacation bench in case of urgency: SC in Dharm Sansad case

Court lists the matter post vacation on July 21

vacation bench

On May 19, 2022, Supreme Court deferred till July 21, the hearing in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking action against alleged hate speeches made during Dharm Sansad meetings. A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar listed the matter to be heard after the vacation, and in the meantime directed the petitioner that in case of urgency, they can seek appropriate relief from the vacation bench.

The counsel for petitioner, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal repeatedly urged the court to issue guidelines should the Dharm Sansad be held during the summer vacation. He reportedly argued, “If this kind of Dharm Sansad continues to be held during summer vacation, some kind of guidelines should be there. We informed the Collector and Superintendent of Police. Yet it goes on, and same speeches are made."

Justice Khanwilkar responded that the court can be moved at appropriate time whenever required. He was reportedly quoted saying, “We can’t anticipate that it's going to happen and invite it. It goes without saying that the parties are entitled to move the court, and in any case earlier orders are there.”

However, Adv. Sibal reportedly remarked, “Despite guidelines they are doing it and no action is taken. That’s the problem, some day your lordships will have to say something more.”

The bench responded saying that they have to dispose of the cases after hearing. Sibal insisted that it would be too late by the time the Court disposes of the case, deeply concerned about the fact that “when communal frenzy takes place, innocent people get hurt.”

Pressing on the need to issue directions as a preventive measure to avoid such Dharm Sansads from taking place in the future, Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora reportedly added, “In our petition, we seek relief that authorities should be required to file a report as to what action is taken. What’s happening is that the same person is making speeches at different Dharm Sansads. Unless directions are issued they have the audacity to repeat this.”

However, Justice Khanwilkar reportedly said, “We can pass orders with no difficulty. But specific cases should be before us. The law says that!”

The Court concluded the hearing by granting the parties liberty to approach the vacation bench in case of emergency.

Background

Petitions had been filed in the Supreme Court seeking criminal action against the alleged anti-Muslim hate speeches made at the ‘Dharm Sansad’ in Haridwar (Uttarakhand) and Delhi in December 2021.  Alongwith the original petition, the Court was informed about the issue of Dharm Sansad held in Una (Himachal Pradesh) and another upcoming event that was likely to be held in Roorkee (Uttarakhand). The Supreme Court also considered a petition filed by three retired officers of the Armed Forces (Major General SG Vombatkere, Colonel PK Nair and Major Priyadarshi Chowdhary) seeking probe by a new Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the alleged hate speeches delivered at the Dharam Sansad religious events organised at Haridwar and Delhi.

Last month, on April 26, immediately before the upcoming Dharm Sansad in Uttarakhand, the apex court  had sharply pulled up the State government for its failure to explain how it will prevent hate speeches from being made during the upcoming Dharam Sansad scheduled to be held in Roorkee and holding the Chief Secretary of the state responsible for possible lapses, the Court further directed him to place on record the corrective measures to taken by them in case the situation got out of hand. Justice Khanwilkar told the Deputy Advocate General of the State of Uttarakhand Jatinder Kumar Sethi, “You will have to take immediate action. Don't make us say something. There are other ways of preventive action. You know how to do it!”

On behalf of the Chief Secretary when the Counsel for the State of Uttarakhand reassured the Court that they will do their best to prevent any such situation, the Court had lashed out at them saying, “It is your duty, you are not doing us a favour!”

Pursuant to court orders, the Haridwar district administration in Uttarakhand had denied permission to hold a ‘Dharam Sansad’ that was scheduled to take place in Roorkee and imposed Section 144 CrPC prohibiting assembly of more than five people within a five-kilometre radius of the Dada Jalalpur village near Roorkee as reported by Scroll.

The Court had also directed the State of Himachal Pradesh to file an affidavit stating the preventive steps that were taken before the Dharam Sansad event in Una and the implementation of the guidelines previously laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Tehseen Poonawalla v. Union of India (2018) 9 SCC 501. Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners informed the court that the Collector and Superintendent of Police did not do anything to stop the event despite it being brought to their notice. The Court reportedly asked, “There are guidelines in Poonawalla case. Are you following it? No prevention has been taken. You had to stop it. File affidavit showing what preventive actions were taken by you.”

On an earlier occasion, the Supreme Court had expressed its dissatisfaction with the affidavit filed by Delhi Police with respect to the speeches made by Sudarshan News TV Editor Suresh Chavhanke at the Delhi Dharm Sansad in December 2021 and directed them to file a ‘better affidavit’ by May 4, 2022. According to LiveLaw, the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Abhay S Oka orally remarked, “The affidavit has been filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police. We hope he has understood the nuances. Has he merely reproduced the inquiry report or applied his mind? Is it your stand as well or the reproduction of inquiry report of Sub inspector level?”

On May 12, 2022, while hearing the plea filed by Jitendra Tyagi aka Wasim Rizvi challenging the Uttarakhand High Court’s order which refused to grant him bail, Justice Rastogi had reportedly remarked, “Spoiling the atmosphere! Stay together peacefully, enjoy life”, reported LiveLaw.

On May 17, 2022, the Supreme Court granted bail to Jitendra Tyagi alias Wasim Rizvi on medical grounds directed him to give an undertaking that he would not indulge in hate speech and not give any statement to electronic, digital, social media.

Jitendra Tyagi has been charged with Section 153A IPC, (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), an offence which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years.

Related:

Dharam Sansad case: SC grants 3 months interim bail to Jitendra Tyagi in Hate Speech
Dharm Sansads: SC pulls up Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh for lax approach
Jitendra Tyagi’s Dharam Sansad hate speech intended to wage war: Uttarakhand High Court
All of you will die, your children too: Narsinghanand tells Haridwar cops as they arrest Jitendra Tyagi

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