Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Union minister Anurag Thakur are among leaders against whom pleas have been filed.

The Delhi High Court Wednesday added several political leaders and activists, including Congress leaders Sonia GandhiRahul GandhiPriyanka 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.

Besides the Gandhis, Lawyers Voice in its application prayed for impleadment of AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Amanutullah Khan; AIMIM leaders Akbaruddin Owaisi, Warris Pathan; lawyer Mehmood Pracha, activist Harsh Mander, former Bombay High Court judge B G Kolse Patil, incarcerated student activist Umar Khalid, actor Swara Bhaskar and others. Farooq, in his application, has prayed for impleadment of BJP leaders Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma.
Lawyers Voice on Wednesday dropped certain names from the list of proposed respondents after it repeatedly failed to furnish their addresses or serve upon them the court notices. “Whosoever has not been served, we will delete,” the counsel representing it told the court.
This article first appeared in