Swamy Approaches SC Against Non-Bailable Warrant Issued in Hate Speech Trial in Assam
NEW DELHI: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today approached the Supreme against the order of an Assam trial court issuing a non-bailable warrant against him for failing to appear before it in a case of alleged hate speech.
The NBW was issued yesterday by a court in Karimganj which had issued summons to him on March 19 on a complaint accusing him of allegedly delivering an inflammatory address on March 15 at Kaziranga University. Swamy mentioned the case before a vacation bench of Justices P C Pant and Amitava Roy, which asked him to fulfil all procedures in the registry for hearing of the matter in due course.
The Karimganj court had ordered that the arrest warrant be complied with on or before June 30. On May 21, a judge of the apex court had recused from hearing his plea challenging the validity of some penal provisions relating to "hate speech". Besides, the BJP leader had also sought a stay on the order of Additional Judicial Magistrate, Karimganj in Assam,
summoning him as an accused for his speech on March 15 at Kaziranga University.
In his petition, he had said "Karimganj has a majority Bengali speaking population, with close ties to Sylhet in Bangladesh. It is isolated from the rest of Assam and is dominated by illegal Bangladeshi migrants who are hostile to Assamese speaking majority of the rest of Assam; and the Petitioner has apprehensions for his safety when he appears in Court there."
"The instant Writ Petition...comprehends a challenge to the vires of Sections 153, 153A, 153B (dealing with offence of rioting), 295A (outraging religious feelings), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings) and 505 (making a statement to cause incitement) of the IPC, all of which deal with the offences popularly labelled as 'hate speech'."
Under the law, hate speech is a speech, gesture or conduct, writing or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group. Swamy alleged that in the "past few years", these sections have been invoked against him, "sometimes malafide and maliciously, by various authorities to penalise him for his clearheaded extensive research and his ideological beliefs and thereby make him conform to the norms of certain special ideological and religious groups."
At least five recent FIRs or summons have been issued against him from Delhi, Mumbai, Karimganj, Mohali in Punjab and Thrissur in Kerala, for "presumed hate speech", he claimed.