PIL Against Alleged Attacks On Christians: Supreme Court Directs Seven States To Furnish Information To Centre In Three Weeks
The Supreme Court today adjourned the plea regarding the alleged attack against the Christian community by four weeks and directed the seven states that have not furnished information to the Union Home Ministry as per a previous order to take peremptory steps within three weeks.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala noted that only Haryana has submitted its report to the Union as per Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, out of the eight states that were directed.
Senior Advocate Garima Prasad, AAG for the state of UP informed the Court that it has also furnished the information. The Court then directed the Centre to reconcile its records to include the data furnished by the UP government also.
The states that have now been directed to furnish information are Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. The state of Uttar Pradesh has been directed to furnish the information once again, since it said that it has already furnished information.
The Public Interest Litigation filed by Rev. Dr. Peter Machado, National Solidarity Forum, Rev. Vijayesh Lal of Evangelical Fellowship of India and others, seeks directions to the Centre and States to take action to prevent violence against the members of the Christian community in the country and setting up of an SIT to probe alleged incidents of violence against the Christian community.
On September 01, the petitioners filed a rejoinder stating that in 2021 and 2022 (till May), the total number of incidents was 700 and only 53 FIRs were registered against perpetrators.
Thereafter, the Apex Court directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to obtain verification reports from the eight States (Bihar, Haryana, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh) in respect of the incidents of alleged violence against Christians.
The Court said that due information shall be furnished regarding the (a) registration of FIRs; (b) status of investigation; (c) arrests made; and (d) the charge sheets filed.
Earlier, the Central Government, through the Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs had filed an affidavit objecting to the maintainability of the PIL stating that "there appears to be some hidden oblique agenda in filing such deceptive petitions, creating an unrest throughout the country and perhaps for getting assistance from outside the country to meddle with internal affairs of our nation".
The Center has stated in the affidavit that on a preliminary ascertainment of the truthfulness of the assertions as alleged in the petition, "it is found that the Petitioner has resorted to falsehood and some selective self-serving documents". The affidavit states that the majority of the incidents alleged as Christian persecution in these reports were either false or wrongfully projected.
The Court had said that it will only consider the implementation of its 2018 Judgment of the Court in the matter of Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs Union Of India on curbing mob violence and not individual instances of alleged violence against Christians in the Country that are cited by the Petitioners.
Cause Title- Most. Rev. Dr. Peter Machado & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.