The Delhi High Court Wednesday added several political leaders and activists, including Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Union minister Anurag Thakur as respondents in petitions seeking registration of an FIR against them for allegedly giving hate speeches prior to the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots.
In a first step towards the start of hearing of arguments in the cases, which have been pending since 2020, the division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Amit Sharma also granted the respondents the liberty to respond within a week to the allegations against them and listed the case for hearing on August 2. The case had earlier witnessed a delay as the petitioners were unable to serve notices on the proposed respondents.
“Whoever wants to file a counter affidavit, please tell us. We will record it,” the court told the counsel representing the parties.
The court had earlier asked petitioners whether it can proceed to issue any direction against whom the allegations have been made without them being arrayed as parties. Following the court’s observations, the two petitioners – Lawyers Voice and Shaikh Mujtaba Farooq & Ors. – moved two applications seeking to add at least 24 persons, against whom FIRs are being sought, as respondents to the petitions.