There is a limit to which you target judges, the Supreme Court said on Thursday while expressing displeasure over news reports that it was delaying hearing a plea alleging increasing attacks on Christian institutions and priests across the country.

Give us a break, a bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant said.

"Last time the matter could not be taken because I was down with Covid. You get it published in newspapers that the Supreme Court is delaying the hearing. Look, there is a limit to which you can target the judges. Who supplies all this news?"

"The news I saw online was that judges are delaying the hearing. Give us a break. One of the judges is down with Covid and this is the reason we could not take the matter. Anyway, we will list it otherwise there will be another news item," the bench observed orally.

The observations came after the petitioner's counsel sought a hearing of the case.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves had mentioned the matter before a vacation bench in June and said 45 to 50 violent attacks on average take place against Christian institutions and priests across the country every month.

The relief sought in the plea filed by Peter Machado and others includes the implementation of guidelines issued by the apex court in the Tehseen Poonawala judgment under which nodal officers were to be appointed to take note of hate crimes and register FIRs.

In 2018, the apex court had come out with a slew of guidelines for the Centre and the states. These included fast-tracked trials, victim compensation, deterrent punishment and disciplinary action against lax law-enforcing officials.

The court had said offences such as hate crimes, cow vigilantism, and lynching incidents should be nipped in the bud.

With PTI Inputs