The Supreme Court has refused to restrict planned rallies by BJP MLA T Raja on January 18, 2024 and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, scheduled from January 19-25 as sought in an Intervention Application preferred by Shaheen Abdullah.

The Apex Court noted that Raja was not impleaded as a party in the matter, and therefore, issuing any adverse direction would be against principles of natural justice.

However, the bench directed the District Magistrates and Superintendent of Police of Yavatmal, Maharashtra and Raipur, Chattisgarh to take appropriate action to prevent any incident of potential hate speech violence.

The Court further directed to install functional CCTVs with recording facilities to identify and catch the perpetrators.

Accordingly, a bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta observed, “It has to be noted in IA no. 8782 of 2024 that the persons against whom the allegations are being made has not been impleaded as a party. Nevertheless, in view of the assertions made we require the authorities to be conscious of the fact that no incitement to violence of hate speech be permitted. We accordingly direct the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of Yavatmal, Maharashtra and Raipur, Chhattisgarh to take notice of the allegations made in the application, copy of which will also be served on them. To take appropriate steps as maybe advices. The police will install CCTV cameras and recording facility so that the perpetrators are identified and are punished”.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for Abdullah.

During the arguments today, Sibal at the outset argued, “This gentleman has multiple FIRs registered against him already…what happens is that when the incident happens, we come to this court, then an FIR is lodged, nothing is done. He continues with the same thing, then what’s the point of all this? see the kind of venom and hate that is perpetrated and no guideline is going to help unless these people are arrested...”.

To which while agreeing Justice Khanna said, “I went through it…they are certainly objectionable”.

However, then he added, “There are directions already issued by this court… as far as procession are concerned, we are not going to stop that but as far as this case is concerned, if there is a hate speech or violence we will take action. But it cannot be pre-emptive”.

The bench outright refused to pass any direction considering the fact that there are suitable directions already issued by the court with regards to the subject matter and additionally, directions were issued for installations of CCTVs.

Justice Datta looking at the prayer, exclaimed, “…Is he a party? Please see your prayer, The order that you are seeking from us, if we pass it, will affect somebody. Therefore, your prayer is don’t grant permission to X, if you have granted permission to X, withdraw it, that too without a hearing. How can we pass orders without these persons being parties that goes against the fundamental principles of natural justice”.

To which then Sibal asked, “What about the fundamentals of the Constitution?”.

The bench then dictated the order, where it refused to grant the prayer sought for, but issued directions to be followed by the authorities.

Cause Title: Hrishikesh Sahoo v. The State Of Karnataka & Ors.