Today, during the hearing before the Apex Court of a plea against alleged hate speeches targeting the minority community, a heated exchange took place between Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Justice KM Joseph who was heading a Bench also comprising Justice BV Nagarathna.

The Court was considering an intervention application by an NGO that sought to highlight instances of alleged hate speech and hate crimes against the Hindu community in general, as well as against the Brahmins.

After Advocate Vishnu Jain appearing for the NGO referred to the "Sar Tan Se Juda" slogans raised in different parts of the Country, following the Solicitor General's persistent efforts to get the Bench to consider the case of a video of hate slogans raised in a PFI rally in Kerala, Justice KM Joseph remarked, "action has an equal reaction", as reported.

The Solicitor General then retorted by saying, "please do not do this and this will be a justification of the clip. No."

Justice Joseph is also reported to have said that hate speech is a vicious cycle and that "people will react".

SG Tushar Mehta's plea to issue notice to the State of Kerala to ascertain what action has been taken by the state about the alleged hate speech, did not go down well with Justice Joseph, who responded by asking the court officer to call the next matter.

Justice Joseph's parent High Court is the Kerala High Court. Justice Joseph was probing and making remarks about the alleged instances of hate speech against minorities in Maharashtra, when the Solicitor General intervened.

The clip that Tushar Mehta referred to was from a rally by the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in May last year where a child carried on a man's shoulders had raised slogans containing death threats toward Hindus and Christians. The Kerala High Court had taken note of the said clip and had observed in a judgment that prima facie, the persons who organised the rally are also responsible for the hateful slogans raised by a child during the event.

Late year, a Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice J B Pardiwala made a similar controversial remark while hearing a plea by Nupur Sharma seeking the transfer of FIRs registered against her across the country that the outburst by Nupur Sharma was responsible for the incident of Udaipur where a tailor was beheaded on video for allegedly supporting Nupur Sharma.

The comments of the Bench had invoked strong reactions from the public and the legal fraternity.

Fifteen retired Judges of High Courts, Seventy-Seven retired bureaucrats and Twenty Five retired Armed Forces officers had issued an open statement criticizing the oral remarks made by the Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice J. B. Pardiwala while hearing the plea by Nupur Sharma.

"Observations reek of patriarchy", women lawyers had said in their letter to the CJI objecting to the Court's oral remarks against Nupur Sharma.

Justice KM Joseph will retire on 6 June during court vacations which begin on 21 May. During his elevation to the Apex Court, there was huge controversy after the Center objected to and delayed his elevation.