Applications Filed Before Apex Court Highlighting Hate Speech Targeting Majority Community In West Bengal & Tamil Nadu
Social Activist and BJP leader Devdutta Maji from West Bengal, and a lawyers’ organisation M/s. Lawyers Voice have filed separate intervention applications along with applications for directions before the Supreme Court, in the pending case relating to Hate Speeches. Both applications highlight instances of hate speech targeting the majority community.
The applicant Devdutta Maji in the application filed through AoR Shoumendu Mukherji has submitted that in West Bengal where the applicant hails from, there are regular instances of provocation and calls for targeting a specific community by political and religious leaders alike. The applicant has stated that there are hardly any proactive steps taken on part of the law enforcement agencies to curb such frequent occurrences of hate speeches in the State.
The applicant has contended that the State of West Bengal has to answer as to why no action has been taken against the offending parties in the incidents.
In the application seeking direction, the applicant Devdutta Maji has prayed to the Court for directions to the Home Secretary and Director General of Police, West Bengal to ensure that an independent, credible and impartial investigation is conducted into the incidents of alleged hate speeches against the Hindu community by SIT.
“In the State of West Bengal where the Applicant hails from, there are regular instances of provocation and calls for targeting a specific community by political and religious leaders alike. There are hardly any proactive steps taken on part of the law enforcement agencies to curb such frequent occurrences of hate speeches in the State of West Bengal. It is thus imperative for the State of West Bengal to answer as to why no action has been taken against the offending parties in the incidents and remarks as enlisted in the two IAs filed by the Applicant.”, the petition reads.
The applicant has enlisted various incidents and statements of Toha Sidiqqui, SDPI Party leader, Maulana Mantajul Islam, the incumbent Chief Minister of West Bengal, Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui, All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) leader Sheikh Alam, Maulana Shabbir Ali Azad Warsi, Saayoni Ghosh.
The applicant has prayed for directions to the State of West Bengal to prosecute all cases of alleged hate speeches in a fast-track court and issue necessary directions to the State of West Bengal to comply with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in Tehseen Poonawalla v. Union of India.
The applicant has claimed that the State of West Bengal in recent years has been caught in a dangerous tailspin of religious appeasement that is harming the harmonious co-existence of communities.
“The State of West Bengal in the recent years has been caught in a dangerous tailspin of religious appeasement that is harming the very essence of harmonious co-existence of communities. Blatant favoritism being shown by the ruling dispensation is widening the cracks of peaceful cohabitation leading to such attacks and virulent statements destroying the social fabric of our nation”, the plea read.
Another application seeking intervention has been filed by Lawyer’s Voice organization seeking the indulgence of the Court towards alleged hate speeches made by several persons across various States and more specifically in the State of Tamil Nadu.
“It is submitted that the socio-religious fabric of the country in general and the State of Tamil Nadu in particular is being continuously ruptured on account of religiously provocative and demeaning statements made by leaders, political functionaries and religious heads towards people practicing a particular faith in the State of Tamil Nadu”, the plea reads.
The applicant also states that “…inspite of the categorical directions by this Hon’ble Court to take suo moto action and register cases on an immediate basis, as and when any speech or any action takes place which attracts offences under Sections 153A, 153B and 295A and 505 of the IPC etc and that 4 such actions would be taken even if no complaint is preferred by the victim against the offender, the Applicant herein, through various media reports, has observed that inspite of grave and recurrent instances of hate speeches delivered by various persons in different states and in particular the State of Tamil Nadu, the concerned authorities have failed to pursue such offences through appropriately legal and necessary means because of political and electoral considerations.”
In its application seeking directions, applicant-Lawyers Voice Organization has sought directions to the Home Secretary and Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu to ensure an impartial investigation into the incidents of alleged hate speeches against the Hindu community by an SIT.
The application filed through Advocate Piyush Beriwal highlights alleged hate speeches by George Ponaiyah, who has allegedly made hateful remarks against the Hindu community and their Deities. The application also highlights speeches by Mohan C. Lazarus, the incumbent Chief Minister of the state, and Member of Parliament from Chidambaram, Thol. Thirumavalan.
The main petition before the Supreme Court seeks directions to ensure that an independent, credible and impartial investigation is conducted into the alleged incidents of hate speeches against the Muslim community. The petitioner has also prayed for direction seeking adherence to the guidelines laid down by the Court in Tehseen Poonawalla v. Union of India. The Court while issuing notice vide order dated October 21, 2022, took note of the fact that issues raised in the said Petition were very serious and related to the growing climate of hate in the country.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had taken serious exception to hate speeches and said the moment politics and religions are separated and politicians stop using religion in politics, such speeches will go away.
Recently, the Court considered an intervention application by an NGO in a connected case, that sought to highlight instances of alleged hate speech and hate crimes against the Hindu community in general, as well as against the Brahmins. During the hearing, Justice KM Joseph made certain remarks, which lead to a controversy.
Cause Title- Shaheen Abdullah v. Union Of India & Ors.