The Delhi High Court Monday sought the stand of several political leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (Congress), Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Anurag Thakur (BJP) and others on pleas to make them parties to proceedings seeking FIR and investigation against them for allegedly delivering hate speeches leading to the February 2020 riots amidst protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

A Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, which was dealing with a batch of petitions concerning the 2020 riots in north-east Delhi, issued notice to all proposed respondents, persons against whom action is sought in the petitions.

One impleadment is filed by petitioner Shaikh Mujtaba Farooq who has sought FIR for hate speech against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma.

The other application is by petitioner Lawyers Voice which has sought the registration of hate speech FIRs against Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as well as Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan, AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, former AIMIM MLA Warris Pathan, Mehmood Pracha, Harsh Mander, Mufti Mohammad Ismail, Swara Bhasker, Umar Khalid, BG Kolse Patil and others.

Before we implead, we will have to give them an opportunity. We can't implead (without hearing) if they oppose it, the Court said.

The Court had earlier granted time to petitioners' advocates for filing of applications for adding as parties certain political leaders to the pleas alleging that they delivered hate speeches which led to the 2020 violence.

Apart from seeking action against those who allegedly gave the hate speeches, some petitions have also sought other reliefs, which include setting up of an SIT, FIRs against police officers who were allegedly involved in the violence, and disclosure of persons arrested and detained.

In its response to these prayers, police had earlier said it had already created three special investigation teams (SIT) under the crime branch and there was no evidence till now that its officers were involved in the violence.

The police, in its affidavit earlier, has said that investigation into the riots have not revealed any evidence till now that political leaders instigated or participated in the violence.

Earlier, while asking the parties to collate the issues, the court had noted that the Supreme Court, in an order of December 17, 2021, has requested it to dispose of expeditiously, preferably within three months, a plea seeking registration of FIR against some politicians for their alleged hate speeches which purportedly led to the north-east Delhi riots last year.

The matter would be heard next on March 22.

With PTI inputs