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SC Issues Notice On Petition Filed By Brinda Karat Against Anurag Thakur

An appeal by CPI(M) leaders Brinda Karat and K.M. Tiwari against the trial court’s refusal to file a police report against Union Minister Anurag Thakur and BJP leader Pravesh Verma for their alleged hate speeches during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests at Shaheen Bagh in 2020 led to the Supreme Court issuing notice to the Delhi Police on Monday.

After three weeks, a bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna scheduled the case for hearing.

Primarily, the court stated verbally during the hearing that it might be incorrect for the lower courts to have determined that a sanction under Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was necessary before taking cognizance.

Referring to a line from one of the purported speeches that read, “desh ke gaddaro ko goli maaro…,” the Bench stated that the phrase “goli maaro” was “certainly not said in terms of a medical prescription.”

The trial court’s reluctance to order the filing of a FIR against Mr. Thakur and Mr. Verma for their claimed hate remarks was rejected by the Delhi High Court in June of last year.

The High Court had declined to overturn the trial court’s decision and stated that, in accordance with the law, the necessary sanction must be sought from the relevant authority in order to file a FIR under the circumstances at hand.

It had been noted that the Delhi Police had conducted a preliminary investigation into the matter and informed the trial court that, at least initially, no evidence of a crime had been presented. The trial court was then required to order an investigation, which was not permitted in the absence of a legal sanction.

The petitioners’ complaint was that Mr. Thakur, after yelling at anti-CAA demonstrators during a rally on January 27, 2020, reportedly encouraged the audience to shout an inflammatory phrase.

The trial court’s ruling had been contested by the Delhi Police.

Ms. Karat and Mr. Tiwari requested the filing of FIRs under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.), and 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration).

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