Delhi HC set aside trial court’s order for filing of FIR against VHP leader for allegedly delivering hate speech in 2019

Bench deems no incriminating evidence against Lok Kumar found, states petitioner, activist Harsh Mander, did not make any accusations against him in the police complaint

On July 21, the Delhi High Court set aside a trial court’s ruling requiring the Delhi Police to file a police report (FIR) against Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Alok Kumar for allegedly delivering a hate speech at a VHP gathering in 2019 in the Lal Kuan neighbourhood of Old Delhi. The complaint had been filed by Harsh Mander, activist and civil society member associated with Karwan-e-Mohabbat. When issuing the order, the Bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma noted that Mander had not made any accusations against Kumar in the police complaint he lodged. 

“The single line averred by respondent no. 1 (Mander) against the petitioner (Kumar) in his complaint filed before the magistrate on the face of it does not constitute any offence, or make out any case against the petitioner,” the court said in its order, as reported by the LiveLaw.

The Bench opined that even if the allegation made out in the complaint turn to be true, no offence has been disclosed that the petitioner has committed. The bench added the following in the order: “Even if the allegations made in the complaint are determined to be true, even then, no offence was disclosed to have been committed by the petitioner (Kumar),” as reported by the LiveLaw.

The court further stated that the case’s records show that there is absolutely no incriminating proof against Kumar, rather deemed the said to be a case with insufficient evidence. 

They will primarily relate to a hate speech which was allegedly delivered by someone else on which the present Petitioner (Kumar) did not have any control,” the judge added. 

In addition to this, Justice Sharma stated that although the magistrates’ powers may be unlimited, they are not unrestricted, and that they must decide cases while keeping in mind that they are the first in line for the adjudicatory process of a criminal case. Magistrates, Justice Sharma continued, play a crucial role in the criminal justice system. 

Though there is no place for hatred or criminal disharmony in a civilized society, in a country like India … all communities have respected each other and have lived a harmonious life. While passing such cases the magistrates even if they disagree with the detailed action report filed on record, the court while focusing on non-discrimination, it has to take into consideration that communal peace cannot be taken lightly and tolerance of cultural and religious values between different communities has to be kept in mind,” the court said, as per LiveLaw.

The bench further noted that in the present case, the police had found that there was no material against Kumar of having either delivered a speech or to have ignited any communal disharmony. 

This court therefore, cautions that while passing such orders, the judges have to be careful that in case there is no disharmony due to any speech, which was allegedly delivered, and not a past as the present one, could have rather ignited the communal disharmony. With these observations and some other observations, your petition has been allowed,” the court said, while addressing the petition.

Background of the case:

The incident of the the Lal Kuan region of Old Delhi had happened in the month of July of the year 2019, when communal tensions had gripped the area, having escalated from a minor squabble erupted over the parking of a two-wheeler. Following the incident, the conflict had begun as groups from both Hindu and Muslim communities gathered at different places and shouted slogans and tried to incite mobs. Reports started surfacing that a small Durga temple in the area had been stoned. Some Hindu activists had accused the Muslims of vandalising the temple.

The next morning, incensed Hindu youth came out on the streets, shouting angry slogans and hurling abuses at Muslims. As per a report of the ScrollHarsh Mander had narrated the following: “On the morning of July 9, police personnel and armed Central Reserve Police Force men were also deployed in large numbers. At the temple, a small crowd had gathered, among them local Muslim and Hindu leaders, with many onlookers from the houses, curious and apprehensive. There were also songs about how Kashmir is Hindu and bhagwa (saffron), and that India is a nation of the Hindus. At around 1 pm, after their march, the crowd gathered near the main temple. Even as local Muslims were serving food at the bhandara, troubling speeches were  being broadcast from the temple loudspeakers. In the first speech, a man in saffron robes said that Hindus had been quiet for too long. He asked Hindus to wake up, adding that Hindus in Gujarat were already awake and could avenge the plight of their dead relatives.”

The VHP organisation had put together a rally on July 9 in the Lal Kuan area of Old Delhi, purported to be in in response to the vandalisation of a temple on July 1, 2019. As alleged by Mander in his complaint, Swami Ji from Kasi, the other accused in the case, allegedly made a hostile speech which contributed to violence in the neighbouring area. Mander had also accused VHP’s Alok Kumar of creating communal tension.

On February 23, 2020, the Tis Hazari Court of Delhi had ordered for the registration of an FIR against Alok Kumar, the International Working President of the VHP and one Swamiji from Kashi for inciting violence against members of the Muslim community. 

Alok Kumar had approached the High Court in the year 2020, seeking for the quashing of the above-mentioned trial court order. Notably, Justice Yogesh Khanna on March 20, 2020, had stayed the trial court order.


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