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The Court also granted the newly impleaded Central Government four weeks' time to file its counter affidavit in the matter.
The Delhi High Court today adjourned the hearing in Harsh Mander's plea, filed in the wake of the riots in Delhi, to April 13.
The Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar also allowed the impleadment of the Central government in the matter and granted it four weeks to file a counter affidavit.
The order was passed following submissions made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta today. The SG said that it is not conducive to file FIRs in the matter for hate speech at present.
Mehta placed on record an affidavit regarding the registration of FIRs in the matter, submitting that the issue has been considered. He informed the Court that a decision was taken to defer the registration of FIRs.
"The condition is not conducive at this moment. FIRs will be registered at an appropriate time."
This submission was, however, opposed by Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra, who asked,
"All of us are concerned about that is happening in Delhi, including the Centre and State, the Petitioner and everyone else."
"The paramount concern should be the welfare of citizens at this moment. All of them are not here... they are suffering", Mehra said.
Whereas the Commissioner of Delhi Police today told the High Court that 48 FIRs have been registered over the violence so far, SG Mehta pointed out that the same pertained to destruction of property.
He went on to assert again that,
"At this juncture when all stakeholders are working to ensure normalcy, any hurried intervention may not be conducive."
Echoing arguments made before the Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh yesterday, Mehta also re-asserted that Mander's petition had selectively focused on three speeches alone.
"The Petitioner in his wisdom picked three speeches as hate speech accordingly to him. I argued that there could be such selective choosing...,There are large number of speeches that we have received. We can't be choosy and selective about it", said Mehta.
As he concluded his submissions for the day, Mehta again urged that more time be granted to respond to Mander's plea.
He argued that prior to the recent riots, the ongoing protests were proceeding peacefully.
"The protest was going on peacefully...that is quite significant that you can have strong protests and yet society remained peaceful. It is the sign of strength of the Indian democracy."
However, referring to the violence that took place from February 23 onwards, Gonsalves submitted,
"We want an order, very quickly, that since it is indisputable that the statements were made. It is a clear cut and prima facie case that it is hate speech resulting in murder..."
Referring to slogans and speeches made by various BJP leaders, Gonsalves pointed out,
"You can clearly link the acts of violence with the provocative speeches made."
Rebutting submissions made by Advocate Chetan Sharma, who appeared for Lawyers' Voice, that the submissions were selective, Gonsalves also asserted that action should be initiated against anyone who indulged in hate speech.
Sharma, however, echoed submissions made by Mehta against any immediate action, arguing that,
"It is a very sensitive time. Let's see what reply comes. Today we do A,B,C, what we may order may be preemptive...Why did all this start, who started? Who said come on the streets? One person says clear the streets and that person should be arrested?"
As the hearing today drew to a close, Gonsalves requested that the matter be listed soon.
However, the Court proceeded to adjourn the matter to April 13, after impleading the Central government in the matter.