Delhi HC expresses displeasure over delay in registering FIR against 3 BJP leaders, seeks report by tomorrow

Pritam Pal Singh

BJP leader Kapil Mishra

Coming down heavily on the Delhi Police, the High Court Wednesday expressed displeasure over delay in registration of FIR against the BJP leaders, who allegedly gave provocative speeches in the city. It ordered the Police Commissioner to watch the video clips of hate speech by political leaders and take a conscious decision on the lodging of FIRs. The decision will be conveyed to the court on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the court said it was "amazed at the state of affairs" after the Delhi Police said that it has not yet watched the video clip of BJP leader Kapil Mishra and others making hate speech that allegedly lead to the mob attacks in northeast Delhi over CAA. The video was later played in the open court.

Stating that the situation outside is "very unpleasant," the bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh said that it cannot allow another '1984 riot' in the capital and that the highest functionaries of the state have to be "very alert." At least 23 people have died in the clashes so far and over 250 have been injured. Senior advocate Zubeida has been appointed as amicus curiae to coordinate between victims and various agencies.

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The court was hearing a plea seeking a judicial inquiry and registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Sahib Singh, and Kapil Mishra and others for allegedly making provocative statements on anti-CAA protesters that have led to multiple riots and mob attacks in Northeast Delhi.

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The court also asked the authorities to ensure safe passage of dead bodies, injured and the family members from the riots affected area. It directed them to ensure that the last rites are performed with utmost dignity and in proper security. It also called the killing of an IB officer in the ongoing violence as "unfortunate." "This is the time to show that Z Security is for everyone," Justice S Muralidhar said.

The bench asked Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta to examine the video clip, while watching the same in the open court. It also asked the SG to advice Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik on lodging of FIRs against alleged hate speeches by BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Sahib Singh, and Kapil Mishra. “We are sure the police commissioner has a TV in his office. Please ask him to watch this clip," the bench observed.

In the morning, the court rapped the police, saying it should not "have to wait for a court's order" and "should take action on its own."

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The affected areas in Delhi

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Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also came down heavily on the police, saying it lacked "professionalism." The Supreme Court said the violence would not have happened if the police had not allowed the instigators to getaway. The bench said it had nothing against the force, but was making the remarks keeping in mind the larger perspective, reported news agency PTI. It refused to take up the petition as the matter is already being heard by the high court.

While seeking to “ensure the safety and protection of all protest sites, especially women and children”, activists Harsh Mander and Farah Naqvi knocked on the High Court’s door for urgent listing of the petition. The activists said, “Delhi Police did not have the right to interrupt the protesters’ freedom of speech, as they were participating in a peaceful demonstration”.