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‘Passed many orders nobody taking action’, SC on plea against hate speech event in Mumbai

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday orally observed that it has passed many orders in connection with hate speeches at events yet nobody was taking action, while agreeing to examine a plea against an alleged hate speech event scheduled on February 5 in Mumbai.

A lawyer mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph and sought urgent hearing. The bench, also comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Justice Hrishikesh Roy, said it will seek instructions from Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and subject to his approval the matter would be posted for hearing on Friday.

The bench orally told the counsel, “You ask us to be embarrassed again and again by getting an order. We have passed so many orders yet nobody is taking action. The Supreme Court should not be asked to pass an order on an event-to-event basis.”

The bench told the counsel, “We are with you on this, but understand that the Supreme Court cannot be triggered every time… a rally is notified.”

The counsel insisted that the matter requires urgent hearing citing the alleged hate speech rally organised in Mumbai.

The bench stressed that it had already passed an order which is clear enough and further added that if rallies were to happen all across the country and every time there will be an application before the Supreme Court. It added, “How can that be feasible?”

The lawyer contended a similar rally was organised a few days ago where an alleged call was made to boycott Muslim communities economically and socially. She added that nearly 10,000 people participated in the rally.

After hearing the counsel’s submissions, the bench asked her to serve a copy of the application on the Maharashtra government counsel, and added, “we will list it tomorrow subject to orders of the CJI. Only this case, not the entire batch”.

“The mass participation at these rallies being organised not just with the consent and knowledge of government authorities but with their active participation, pose a serious threat to the very foundation of our nation as a secular nation. The hatred being taught and the radicalization of youth being carried out with such impunity will inevitably lead to communal disharmony and violence of an unfathomable scale across the country,” said the plea.

The plea said rallies have been organised by a body known as the Sakal Hindu Samaj, an umbrella body of Hindu right-wing organisations under the banner of ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Sabha’. The last such rally took place on January 29 in Mumbai and more than 10,000 people attended the rally organised by Hindu far-right groups seeking boycott of goods from shops owned by Muslims and a law against ‘love jihad’ and ‘religious conversions’.

“That the aforementioned Sakal Hindu Samaj will be organising yet another rally, of a similar nature, on 05.02.2023 in Mumbai. At least 15,000 people are expected to participate in the said rally. The very nature of all the previous rallies clearly indicate the kind of hate speeches that will in all likelihood be delivered at the same event,” added the plea.

In October last year, the apex court had directed the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to come down hard on hate speeches, promptly registering criminal cases against the culprits without waiting for a complaint to be filed.