Why Did You Not Take Suo Moto Cognizance Of Hate Speech By PFI In Kerala? SG Asks Bench Headed By Justice KM Joseph
In a heated exchange between Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and the Bench of Justice KM Joseph and Justice BV Nagarathna, the Solicitor General asked the Bench why it did not take suo motu cognizance of the video of the hate slogans by a child in a rally in Kerala by the now banned Popular Fron of India (PFI).
The Solicitor General appearing for the Center, pointed out the instance of hate speech from Kerala and the alleged hate speech by a DMK leader calling for the killing of Brahmins, in a case relating to hate speeches against religious minorities.
Justice Joseph and Justice Nagarathna were quizzing Advocate Vishnu Jain who appeared for Hindu front for Justice-Trust, an NGO from Uttar Pradesh that had filed an application in the case seeking intervention, highlighting instances of hate speech and hate crimes against Hindus in general and against the Brahmin community in particular, about hate speeches targeting religious minorities.
When the Solicitor General pointed out the instances of alleged hate speech against Brahmins by DMK leader, Justice KM Joseph smiled and the SG retorted by saying that it is not a matter to be laughed at.
When the SG mentioned the video of a child in a PFI rally in Kerala raising slogans calling for preparation for the last rites of Hindus and Christians, Justice Joseph said that he was aware of the video.
"Then your lordship should have taken Suo Motu cognisance", said the SG to Justice Joseph who hails from Kerala.
The lawyer representing the petitioner objected to the submission, stating that the SG is engaging in "whataboutery".
When Justice Joseph was not willing to respond further on the incident from Kerala, the SG persisted by asking, why the Court is "shying away from looking at the clip". When Justice Joseph said that the SG may include the clip in the Center's submission, the SG responded by saying that the Bench should not be "selective" and that the clip is in the public domain.
Advocate Vishnu Jain then pointed out instances of "Sar Tan se Juda" slogans raised in different parts of the Country.
Justice Joseph then said that every action has an opposite reaction. Solicitor General objected to the remark and said that saying so will be a justification of the hate speech.
The SG then persisted by referring to the clip from Kerala and asking why the petitioners should not incorporate this in their petition. Justice Joseph reacted by saying, "Let Mr. Jain fight his own case".
Advocate Vishnu Jain then joined the SG in his plea to consider the instances of hate speech highlighted in his petition. When the SG then submitted that notice be issued to Kerala, Justice Joseph reacted by asking for the next matter to be called.
In its application, Hindu front for Justice-Trust has stated that "Some recent instances of hate speeches, utterances and statements made against Hindus and Hindu religion by members of Muslim and Christian community are being placed on record in a summarized form".
In its application, the NGO has pointed out eight instances of beheading calls by members of the Muslim community (“Sar Tan se Juda”) and that "after such call actual incidents of beheading have taken place". The NGO has also pointed out other instances of hate speech directed against the Hindu community as a whole and against Brahmins.
The NGO also pointed out instances of hate crimes against the Hindu community. "The hate crimes being committed by Muslims against Hindus are rapidly growing but the police is very slow in taking action against the culprits due to political reasons and/or fear of Muslim ‘mobocracy’", the application said.
The Kerala High Court had made an observation in its judgment in a plea filed challenging the conduct of the event, prior to the event where the hate slogans were raised, that persons who organised the event should be held responsible for the hate speech.
Cause Title: Qurban Ali & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.