Union minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma. Photo: Facebook.

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday, June 13, dismissed a plea challenging a trial court’s refusal to direct the registration of a first information report (FIR) against Union minister Anurag Thakur and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) colleague Parvesh Verma for alleged hate speeches

The order was pronounced by Justice Chandra Dhari Singh who had reserved the verdict on March 25. He said that the petitioners – which included Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] leaders Brinda Karat and K.M. Tiwari – had failed to follow the prescribed mechanism under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The trial court had, on August 26, 2021, dismissed the petitioners’ plea seeking registration of FIR on the ground that it was not sustainable as the requisite sanction from the competent authority, the Union government, was not obtained.

The petitioners claimed before the high court that a cognisable offence was made out against the two leaders in the present case and an FIR should be lodged against them for their alleged hate speeches concerning the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest at Shaheen Bagh and that they were only asking the police to investigate the matter.

According to Indian Express, the petitioners in their plea before the high court said, “The petitioners/complainants, already aggrieved by the failure of the police to register an FIR for the commission of cognisable offences amounting to hate speech, have now been relegated… to seek sanction from the State/Centre, a sanction which is a statutory requirement for taking cognisance, not investigation.”

The petitioners then went on to say that the dismissal of the complaint for the want of sanction means asking the complainant to step in the shoes of the investigating agency and make a case for prosecution before the sanctioning agency.

“Any application for sanction by the complainant at this stage would be without the benefit of materials and evidence obtained during the investigation,” the petitioners argued, as per the IE report.

The Delhi Police, however, defended the trial court order in the high court, saying that the trial court rightly held that it did not have jurisdiction to deal with the case. In support of its argument, the Delhi Police referred to the Supreme Court’s judgments, which said that if a judge is saying he does not have jurisdiction, he should not comment on merits and that is the right approach.

The petitioners had claimed in their complaint before the trial court that Thakur and Verma had sought to incite people as a result of which three incidents of firing took place at two different protest sites in Delhi.

They had mentioned that at the Rithala rally here, Thakur had, on January 27, 2020, egged on the crowd to raise an incendiary slogan “shoot the traitors” after lashing out at anti-CAA protesters.

They had further claimed that Verma had, on January 28, 2020, allegedly made incendiary comments against the anti-CAA protesters in Shaheen Bagh.

Ahead of the Delhi assembly elections, in January 2020, Anurag Thakur was seen leading a crowd with the slogan “Desh ke gaddaron ko…” to which the response came, “goli maaro saalon ko”. The chant can be translated to “shoot the traitors to the country”.

On the other hand, Parvesh Verma had called the Shaheen Bagh protesters “rapists and murderers”, and said that the people of Delhi should “act now” (and vote for the BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah “would not save them later.”

“The people of Delhi know that the fire that was set in Kashmir a few years ago, and the mothers and sisters of Kashmiri Pandits were raped, that fire then was set in UP, in Hyderabad, in Kerala. Today that fire has been set in a corner of Delhi [Shaheen Bagh]…That fire could reach the houses of Delhi at any time; it could reach our houses. The people of Delhi need to think through their decision,” Verma had said.

This article first appeared on thewire.in