Supreme court tells state it's 'bound' by the Constitution to make sure peace
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Uttarakhand government to make sure that hate speeches don't seem to be delivered at a so-called Dharam Sansad scheduled in Roorkee on Wednesday and reminded the state it had been “bound” by the Constitution to make sure peace and wasn't “doing any favour” by complying with relevant judicial directives.
“We are putting on record now. you recognize what are the preventive measures. you'll must take it and if it (hate speeches/violence) happens, we'll ask the Chief Secretary to be present here before the court…. We are directing you to require all the mandatory steps,” Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, heading a three-judge bench, told Uttarakhand deputy advocate-general Jatinder Kumar Sethi.
“You are sure to take action. you're not doing any favour to us by following the directions,” the court added while hearing appeals against alleged hate speeches at religious events in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Both states are ruled by the BJP.
The bench, which also had Justices A.S. Oka and C.T. Ravi Kumar, made the oral observations after Sethi assured the court that the Uttarakhand government was adhering to the directives issued in 2018 in three cases — Shakti Vahini Vs Union of India & Ors, Tehseen S. Poonawalla Vs Union of India & Ors, and Kodungallur Film Society and Anr. Vs Union of India & Ors. These judgments handled preventive and punitive measures associated with hate speeches.
The stern warning on Tuesday followed submissions by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for PIL petitioner Qurban Ali, that guidelines issued by the Supreme Court within the three judgments weren't being complied with, leading to hate speeches being delivered.
Sibal informed the court that on Wednesday another “Dharam Sansad” was scheduled to be held at Roorkee where the petitioner apprehended hate speeches almost like those allegedly delivered in Haridwar last December.
“You (Uttarakhand government) must follow the rules, and if they're not being followed, you may must answer,” Justice Khanwilkar said.
When Sethi said the state was taking all preventive measures, Justice Khanwilkar said: “Not only that, you have got to prevent all such activities (hate speeches) and untoward incidents from happening. These events don’t occur suddenly and are announced prior to. Your police must make sure that nothing happens.”
Sethi informed the court that the Uttarakhand government had registered four FIRs regarding one community and one FIR within the case of another community in reference to the hate speeches delivered in December. He failed to name the communities.
“Things are happening despite our judgment,” the court replied.
On preventive measures, Sethi said the administration was facing difficulties as “we don’t know what would be the text” of the speeches that might be delivered at the religious gatherings. Justice Khanwilkar remarked: “The speaker are going to be the identical. you're taking action. Don’t make us say what we don’t want to talk.”
Sethi replied: “We are taking steps and directions. allow them to (petitioners) have faith in us.”
The bench said: “You talk over with the secretary (home) and therefore the IG of that area (Roorkee). the matter isn't about trust, but what we see are some things else on the bottom. Despite the 2018 judgment things are happening.”
Sethi said: “My friend (Sibal) is trying to colour a selected community. We are taking steps and that we will take steps that nothing happens.”
In December in Haridwar, calls had allegedly been issued at a Dharam Sansad for genocide against Muslims. At the same event in Delhi, participants had been seen in videos chanting: “We shall fight; we shall die for and, if necessary, we shall kill.”
Last week the Supreme Court directed Delhi police to file a “better affidavit” after the force stated that no hate speeches had been delivered within the capital and also the speakers were only trying to “save the ethics of the community”.
Earlier during Tuesday’s hearing, the court directed the Himachal Pradesh Home Secretary to file an affidavit stating the measures taken to forestall any untoward incident at a recent Dharam Sansad in Shimla.