Delhi Riots: HC asks Brinda Karat to give FIRs pertaining to probe against police

The Delhi High Court on Monday asked CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat to place before it copies of FIRs in which she is seeking an independent probe into alleged excessive use of force by police personnel here during the riots of 2020.

A bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul said once such FIRs are on record, a direction may be passed to the Delhi Police to file a status report in relation to the investigation in the matters.

The counsel for Karat told the court there were several FIRs with regards the alleged misuse of power by the police during the February 2020 violence that erupted in north east delhi.

One such incident, she said, was revealed in a “viral” video which showed some policemen allegedly beating a Muslim youth while forcing them to sing the national anthem.

“Please file copy of FIRs in which you want us to direct independent probe. Place it on record. (List on August 7) to enable the petitioner to place on record copies of subject FIRs,” said the bench also comprising Justice Anish Dayal.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions which were filed in the aftermath of the 2020 riots.

Communal clashes had broken out in north east Delhi on February 24, 2020, after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 700 injured.

Besides Karat’s petition seeking investigation by an independent body, petitions seeking FIRs against several political leaders for allegedly delivering hate speeches were also listed.

The court directed that all cases be listed for hearing on August 7.

On July 13, 2022, the high court had made various political leaders– Anurag Thakur (BJP), Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (Congress), Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, etc — parties to proceedings seeking FIR and investigation against them for allegedly delivering hate speeches leading to the violence.

Petitioner Shaikh Mujtaba Farooq has sought FIR for hate speech against BJP leaders Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma, and Abhay Verma.

Petitioner Lawyers Voice has sought the registration of hate speech FIRs against Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as well as Deputy CM Sisodia, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan, AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, former AIMIM MLA Warris Pathan, Mehmood Pracha, Harsh Mander, Mufti Mohammad Ismail, Swara Bhasker and Umar Khalid among others.

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In response, the Gandhis have said that preventing a citizen from expressing a bonfide opinion against any bill or law passed by Parliament is violative of “right to free speech” and “principles of democracy.

The Gandhis, in two separate affidavits, have submitted there was no requirement to issue directions to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and the case of issuance of direction to register an FIR against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi is not made out and no interference is called for by this court to pass any order.

“Meanwhile, a series of speeches made by the members of the ruling party, falling squarely within the ambit of the sections under which the present writ is seeking action against the respondents, have been conveniently left out by the petitioner, revealing the coloured nature of the exercise,” they have said.

Police had earlier said it has already created three special investigation teams (SITs) under the crime branch and there was no evidence till now that its officers were involved in the violence or that political leaders instigated or participated in the violence.

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