Hate speech in Delhi: SC asks why 5 months’ to file FIR, says police make no palpable progress in probe   

Suresh Chavhanke at the Hindu Yuva Vahini event in New Delhi. Photo: Twitter/@Minakshishriyan

  • Delhi Police has not yet arrested anyone, no chargesheet has been filed
  • An FIR was file five months after the hate event was held in national capital
  • Hindutva media face Suresh Chavanke had administered an oath some people to “die for and kill” to make India a Hindu Rashtra

The Supreme Court on Friday sought a report from the Delhi Police in connection with the progress on investigation into the cases of hate speeches made at a Hindutva event in the national capital in 2021.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha noted that there was no palpable progress made in the investigation in the case.

The apex court observed this while hearing a case related to a hate event organized by the Hindu Yuva Vahini on December 19 wherein upcoming media face of Hindutva rightwing Suresh Chavhanke, who is the editor-in-chief of TV channel Sudarshan News, had administered an oath to a group of people to “die for and kill” to make India a “Hindu Rashtra” or a Hindu nation. A first information report in the case was filed nearly five months later on May 4, 2022. In a video, Chavanke is heard saying: “In order to make this country a Hindu nation and to keep it a Hindu nation, and to move forward, we will fight, die and kill, if required.” The audience present in the hall responds to the lines in the “oath”, with their hands stretched ahead.

The bench noted that the incident occurred in December 2021, and the FIR in the matter was lodged in May 2022. The bench told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) K.M. Nataraj, representing Delhi Police, said, “Why do you need five months for lodging an FIR…” It further queried, “How many arrests have been made?”

The bench heard a contempt petition filed by activist Tushar Gandhi against senior police officials for not taking action according to the guidelines laid down to curb hate speech and lynching.

“They have not arrested anyone, no chargesheet has been filed,” Advocate Shadan Farasat, representing Gandhi, told the judges.

Farasat said the matter was very serious and urged the court to read the transcripts of the speech made at the event. “It is a call for action for violence of a certain kind,” the advocate submitted. “This is not just one person…One person [Chavhanke] is leading and everybody is taking an oath behind him.”

The chief justice questioned Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, representing the Delhi Police, about the delay in filing the FIR.

“After 4th of May, it has been eight months,” Chandrachud added. “What progress has been made? If you register an FIR five months later, and eight months after that there is no substantial progress…You tell us”

The court directed the investigating officer of the case to file an affidavit detailing steps taken in the inquiry within two weeks, according to Scroll. It noted that in an affidavit filed on April 14 last year, the Delhi Police had told the Supreme Court that no anti-Muslim speech had been made at the Hindu Yuva Vahini event. However, the court had directed the Delhi Police to file a “better affidavit”.

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