The Supreme Court on Monday deferred to August 14 its hearing on CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat’s plea related to non-registration of FIRs against BJP MPs Anurag Thakur and Pravesh Verma for their alleged hate speeches in connection with the anti-CAA protests.
Karat has challenged a Delhi High Court’s order dismissing a petition against a trial court’s refusal to order registration of FIRs against the two BJP leaders.
A bench headed by justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna posted the matter for further hearing in august after advocate Rajat Nair, appearing for the Delhi Police commissioner, sought time to file his response on the plea.
The top court on April 17 had issued a notice and sought the response of the Delhi Police.
The apex court had then observed that prima facie the magistrate’s stand that sanctions under section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was required for lodging FIRs against the two BJP leaders was not correct.
On June 13 last year, the Delhi High Court had dismissed the petition filed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Karat as well as her party colleague KM Tiwari against the two BJP MPs for their alleged hate speeches.
The high court had refused to interfere with the trial court’s order, saying under the law, sanction is required to be obtained from the competent authority for registration of FIRs in the present facts.
The petitioners had claimed in their complaint before the trial court that Thakur, a Union minister, and Verma had sought to “incite people as a result of which three incidents of firing took place at two different protest sites in Delhi”.
The petitioners alleged that at a rally in Rithala here on January 27, 2020, Thakur egged on the crowd to raise an incendiary slogan — “shoot the traitors”– after lashing out at anti-CAA protesters of Shaheen Bagh.
They claimed Verma, too, made inflammatory speeches against the Shaheen Bagh protesters on January 28, 2020.
The trial court had on August 26, 2021, dismissed the petitioners’ complaint on the ground that it was not sustainable as the requisite sanction from the central government, which was the competent authority, had not been obtained.
In their complaint, Karat and Tiwari had sought FIRs against the two BJP leaders under various Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections, including 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.), 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).
They had also sought action under other IPC sections, including 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation).
The maximum punishment for the offences is a jail term of seven years.