SC defers hate speech case against Mander till Apr 15

The Asian Age.  | Pramod Kumar

Metros, Delhi

The matter is rooted in a plea by Harsh Mander seeking FIRs against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Pravesh Singh and Anurag Thakur.

Harsh Mander

New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Friday told the Supreme Court that it has come across another speech of social activist Harsh Mander in which he is disparagingly speaking about judiciary, as court deferred hearing on the content of an earlier speech was deferred till April 15.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde, Justice B.R.Gavai and Justice Surya Kant deferred the hearing till April 15 as senior counsel Dushyant Dave appearing for former bureaucrat turned social activist Harsh Mander told the court that government was trying to browbeat.

My right to move the court is seriously harmed. Government wants to “shoot the messenger”. It is “trying to browbeat”, Dave told the court.

Dave told the court that he has gone through December 2019 speech of Mander and there was noting contemptuous in it  or anything that brings down the esteem of the Court.

“It (speech) is not objectionable at all. It does not bring the court in disrepute”, Dave told the court.

As Dave said that he would be the last one to defend someone who has brought disrepute to the institution, Solicitor General Tuishar Mehta said that usually he is the first one to say things …. .

In a retort Dave dared the Solicitor General to bring contempt plea against him.  “If you have courage you bring contempt against me.  Government is trying to browbeat.”

On a poser from the court when Solicitor General Mehta informed the court that police has already filed an affidavit bringing on record the speech delivered by Mander in December 2019, Dave said that he should also bring the same kind of affidavit against those who had indulged in hate speech which led to the death of 53 people.  

The matter is rooted in a plea by Harsh Mander seeking the registration of FIRs against  BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Pravesh Singh and Anurag Thakur for making inflammatory and hate speeches  since the beginning of this year.

When the court took up the matter early this week, Delhi police informed the court about a speech made by Mander in which he was quoted to have said that they have no faith in the judiciary but they have no choice but to approach it and the eventual fight for justice would be on the streets.

Taking a serious view of the speech, the court said that they would first hear it and said that till then they would not hear the plea by Mander relating to recent communal riots in Delhi.