Delhi communal riots: SC agrees to hear plea seeking lodging of FIRs on Wednesday

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear on March 4 a plea seeking lodging of FIRs against BJP leaders — Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma, Kapil Mishra and Abhay Verma — for their purported hate speeches which allegedly led to recent violence in Delhi in which over 40 people lost their lives and scores injured.
The petition filed by 10 victims of the violence was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde which said it would be heard on Wednesday.
“We are not saying that people should die. That kind of pressure we are not equipped to handle. We cannot stop things from happening. We cannot give preventive reliefs. We feel a kind of pressure on us,” the CJI said when senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for petitioners, sought urgent listing of the plea.
The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said the court can deal with a situation only after it takes place and it is not equipped to prevent it.
“The kind of pressure on us, you should know, we cannot handle that,” the bench said, adding, “We also read newspapers and the comments which are made. It is like as if the court is responsible”.
“We would wish peace but you know that there are limitations,” the CJI told Gonsalves who said that the court can prevent any further deterioration of the situation.
When the bench said that the Delhi High Court is already seized of petitions on Delhi violence, Gonsalves said the high court has deferred the matter for almost six weeks and it was disappointing.
“When people are still dying then why cannot the high court hear it urgently,” he said and urged the apex court to list the plea for hearing on Tuesday.
The bench agreed to list the petition for hearing on Wednesday and said, “We will see what we can do”.
The plea has sought several directions, including constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) consisting of officers from outside Delhi and headed by an officer of “integrity and repute” and capable of acting in an independent manner.
It has also sought a direction to a retired judge to enquire into the “communal attacks” and to identify the police persons involved in rioting and direct that such cops be dismissed from service in accordance with law.
“All of those have experienced a nexus between the hate speech slogan made by 4 prominent persons belonging to the party in power that were repeated again and again not only in Delhi but across the country, which exhorted the followers of these leaders to take the law into their own hands and kill peaceful protestors,” the plea said, while seeking prosecution of Thakur, Verma, Mishra and others who allegedly engaged in “criminal activities” which led to the violence.
Meanwhile, a separate petition has also been filed in the apex court by social activist Yogita Bhayana seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into the riot incident and murder of intelligence bureau (IB) official Ankit Sharma in the violence.
The plea, filed through advocate Utsav Singh Bains, has also sought departmental action against police officials who have failed to prevent the violence.
The separate plea filed by victims of the violence has alleged that Delhi Police and “armed right wing mob” had deprived the residents and peaceful protestors of their life and personal liberty and the state has “vindicated the sacrosanct fundamental right to life and the personal liberty of the peacefully protesting students.”
The plea said that if the law and order situation deteriorate further, the Centre should be directed to request the Army to maintain law and order in Delhi and particularly in the areas where “communal attacks on the people are most ferocious”.
It sought a direction to the authorities to pay “exemplary compensation” to those who have been killed or injured in the violence.
It said that CCTV footage of all cameras in and around the protest sites should be preserved and authorities should be directed to ensure the safety and protection of all the protest sites, especially women and children.
The plea said that authorities should be directed to conduct DNA test in cases where only unidentifiable parts of the body of the deceased are available and bodies should be kept in a “dignified and hygienic manner in the mortuaries and elsewhere with immediate effect.”
It also sought a direction to the hospitals and health institutions to provide the families of affected persons forthwith with the post mortem reports and their entire medical records along with the bodies.
It said that adequate food should be provided to all the affected families in the areas hit by violence as well as in the hospitals and other areas of detention.
The plea said that police should be directed to declare on website the full list with names of persons that have been detained by them or the paramilitary forces and such persons should be provided access to their family and advocates.

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