SC asks Delhi Police to file 'better affidavit' on alleged hate speech at 'dharam sansad'

Delhi Police in an affidavit filed before the apex court has denied the allegations of hate speech in the 'dharam sansad' event held in the city during December 2021
Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)
Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday while expressing dissatisfaction with the affidavit filed by Delhi Police asked it to file a better affidavit on the alleged hate speech at the dharam sansad (Hindu Yuva Vahini) event in the city in December 2021.

The top court asked Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj whether any superior official had seen the stand taken by the Delhi Police. He submitted that they will have a re-look into it and file a fresh affidavit within two weeks.

“Some superior officer has seen it? Who has verified it? Has there been an application of mind as to if this stand can be taken on affidavit before the court? This affidavit is filed by the deputy commissioner of police? He accepts this position? …We hope that he understands the nuances as well as the other aspects. If he has merely reproduced the inquiry report, we can understand. Are you accepting it as a correct finding? Or you need to have a relook at the whole matter? This is the reproduction of the inquiry report prepared by a sub-inspector level officer or is it your stand?" Justice AM Khanwilkar said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioners said that the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the affidavit has said that after viewing and listening to this video, it says that ‘there was a motive to save the ethics of the community.’

The next date of hearing is on May 9.

Delhi Police in an affidavit filed before the apex court has denied the allegations of hate speech at the event in Delhi.

The Police has said that based on the complaints filed by several people against the Hindu Yuva Vahini event, it had conducted an "in-depth inquiry and evaluation" in the matter and found no substance in the allegations of hate speech.

“…After that deep inquiry was conducted, evaluating the contents of the video etc. the answering respondent did not find any substance in the video as per the allegations leveled by the complainants. In the video clip of the Delhi incident, there is no utterance against any particular section/community,” the affidavit said.

The complaints also referred to a speech by the editor of television news channel Sudarshan News and claimed that it contained instances of what can be said to be “hate speech”.

Delhi Police has said that after evaluation of the alleged video clip, it had concluded that the alleged speech did not disclose any hate words against a particular community.

"...Bare perusal of the complaint made, the statement which is alleged to be offensive, would divulge that there are no specific words against any particular community or against any community that were uttered by the gathering or any person in that event,” the affidavit by Delhi Police reads.

It had said there has been 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.

"...After completion of the enquiry into the complaints, the inquiry officer submitted the enquiry report on March 24, 2022 closing all the complaints 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,” it added.

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition that sought probe into allegations of hate speech at the “dharam sansad” in Haridwar and Delhi in December 2021.

The affidavit filed by Esha Pandey, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South East Delhi, further submitted that "none of the words which were spoken during the events in any manner whatsoever overtly or expressly described Indian Muslims as usurpers of territory, and as predators of land, livelihood and of Hindu women and nothing was said which could create an environment of paranoia amongst any religion".

While referring to the fundamental freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a), Delhi Police said that it “can be reasonably restricted only for the purposes mentioned under article 19(2), and the restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not the quicksand of convenience and expediency.”

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