The Supreme Court today adjourned the plea filed by Rev. Peter Machado and others alleging attacks on the Christian Community in the country, after the centre filed an affidavit stating that most of the alleged incidents cited by the petitioners are false and they never happened, based on reports received by it from respective states.

The Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala adjourned the plea by two weeks after the Solicitor General submitted that the petitioner's aim is to keep the pot boiling and that it is being projected outside the country that Christians are under attack.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the Centre has collated information from various states have filed a report.

He cited an example from the information received from Bihar where most of the alleged incidents of attacks were found to be false. He submitted that an incident between two neighbours, where one happened to be a Christian has been cited as a hate crime.

"Where there was an incident of real offence that required arrest, arrests have taken place", Tushar Mehta submitted. "The figures given by them, that persuaded Your Lordships very rightly to issue notice, was not correct", he added. He also submitted that calls received on a hotline number were made the source of information by the petitioners.

The Counsel for the state of Chhattisgarh submitted that a false affidavit has been filed by the petitioners with respect to incidents in that state.

"They want to keep the pot boiling", Solicitor General submitted.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves appearing for the petitioner submitted that the affidavit of the Centre was received last night and that he wants time to respond.

Kindly have it after two weeks. They came to Court saying 495 cases are there, which would shock anybodys' conscious. Now most of the states say that most of the incidents have not happened, Tushar Mehta submitted.

This will be projected outside the country saying that Christians are being attacked, Tushar Mehta added.

The Court then adjourned the case by two weeks.

On the last date of the hearing, the Court noted that the Union had not filed its affidavit though the matter was filed in September. The Court directed the Home Ministry to file an affidavit and refused to issue notice to the respondent states for the time being.

The bench was informed by Aishwarya Bhati, Additional Solicitor General that the defaulting states had furnished the information and that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs shall now proceed to prepare its report in terms of the directions of this Court, on or before the next date of listing.

Appearing for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves had submitted that he expected the filing of the plea to be a deterrent. "There has been an exponential rise in the attacks. Chattisgarh came out with a book pointing out 600 attacks. There is a pattern where you attack the community, you stop the prayer meeting and you register the FIR against the Christians", he said. ASG Bhati had countered the submissions by stating that "it is easy to make sweeping statements" and undertook to file the data submitted by the states.

The nine states were directed to furnish information regarding the (a) registration of FIRs; (b) status of the investigation; (c) arrests made; and (d) the charge sheets filed.

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.

Earlier, the Court had said that it would 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 the Petitioners cite.

The Central Government, through the Deputy Secretary, the 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".

Cause Title- Most. Rev. Dr. Peter Machado & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. [W.P.(Crl.) No. 137/2022]