The Supreme Court on Wednesday, told activist Harsh Mander that it will not hear his appeal in the case involving hate speech by BJP leaders which allegedly led to violence in the national capital, unless the matter of his alleged comments against the judiciary is sorted.
On March 2, a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde agreed to hear the plea filed by riots victims as well as activist Harsh Mander seeking registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and others for hate speeches which allegedly led to violence in the national capital.
Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta representing the Centre, objected to the petition filed by Mander. “Harsh Mander’s speech says we have no faith in the Supreme Court and still we have to go. This is the speech at CAA protests,” he said.
The apex court today sought reply from Mander asking him to explain his speech during an anti-CAA protest in January, where he allegedly made derogatory comments against the SC .
“You made statements against the Supreme Court. We will not hear you now… If Harsh Mander feels (that) about the Supreme Court, then we will have decide on that first,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said.
CJI further said, “If this is what you feel about court, we are putting you to notice.”
Justice BR Gavai asked about a video allegedly showing Harsh Mander instigating a crowd against the apex court and Parliament.
CJI told Mander’s counsel Karuna Nandy said, “If this is what you feel about SC then we have to decide what to do with you.”
Nandy told the court, “He (Mander) has never said it. No copies have been given to me.”
Justice Bobde asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to give transcripts and documents to Mander to prepare a response to the allegations.
SG Mehta also pointed out to the SC that former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi too had struck off Harsh Mander’s name as a petitioner in a case involving Assam detention centres, earlier. He dubbing the activist’s speech “derogatory and instigating.”
In the earlier case, Mander had asked for a change of bench. “Learn to trust your judges,” Ranjan Gogoi had said, accusing Harsh Mander of “damaging the institution” and dismissed his plea.
The apex court also questioned Centre on registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and others, if the atmosphere was conducive to lodge FIRs.
Mehta said that it should be left to the law enforcement authorities, as many factors were involved.
The Centre said over 400 FIRs have been registered. It denied statement made by petitioner’s counsel that 10 people were dying everyday.
Last Thursday, the Delhi High Court had given the Centre four weeks to file its response on the issue of filing FIRs against three BJP leaders — Kapil Mishra, Pravesh Verma and Anurag Thakur — for alleged hate speeches and inciting violence in the national capital.
Therefore, activist Harsh Mander took the matter to the apex court.