Harsh Mander
Harsh Mander
Litigation News

Delhi Riots: Supreme Court seeks explanation from Harsh Mander for allegedly criticising institution in speech

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta brought the Court's notice to Mander's alleged speech during the hearing of the case concerning the Delhi riots today.

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today sought an explanation from former IAS officer Harsh Mander on a speech in which he allegedly expressed "no faith" in the Supreme Court.

The alleged speech delivered by Mander at an anti-CAA protest was brought to Court's notice by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta when the Court took up for hearing a case concerning the Delhi riots.

One of the prayers in the pleas before Court pertained to immediate registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur for making inflammatory speeches that allegedly led to the violence in the national capital.

When the Court began the hearing, Mehta was the first to make submissions. He began by bringing to the Court's attention to the contents of a video clip, a copy of which had not been served to Mander at the time.

Mehta told the Court that in this video clip, Mander can be seen and heard calling upon the people to discharge their duties and can be seen saying that "real justice will be done in the streets".

Mehta said that Mander has criticised the Apex Court by saying that there is no faith left in the institution.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant said that Mander would have to provide an explanation on the same. It further said that it would not hear Mander on the issue of the Delhi riots till the issue of this alleged speech is sorted out.

Advocate Karuna Nundy, representing Mander, denied the contents of the speech and said that she was not served with a copy of the same. SG Mehta sought to play the video clip in the Courtroom. However, CJI Bobde said that a transcript of the same would suffice.

While the Court heard Senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves, representing the main petitioners in the matter, it told Nundy to reserve her comments and submissions for when the Court takes up the issue of Mander's speech for hearing.

SG Mehta, to buttress his argument that Mander had delivered a "hate speech" involving the Supreme Court, also argued that Mander has antecedents of questioning and undermining the Supreme Court.

Mehta read out the portions from the Supreme Court's order delivered by the Bench headed by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi wherein the Court had removed Mander as the petitioner from his own petition relating to detention centres in Assam.

Mander had sought the recusal of CJI Gogoi from the case, citing some adverse observations that were reportedly made by CJI Gogoi during the course of the hearing.

These observations, however, were not recorded in the order passed by the Apex Court subsequently. All the same, Mander was no longer a petitioner in the matter.

The CJI Bobde led Bench has now directed SG Mehta to serve a copy of the affidavit he filed with regard to Mander's speech to be served to his Counsel. The matter has been scheduled to be heard on Friday, March 6.

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