Final report in hate speech case over the Hindu Yuva Vahini event is "almost ready": Delhi Police informs SC

Final report in hate speech case over the Hindu Yuva Vahini event is "almost ready": Delhi Police informs SC

The Hindu Yuva Vahini event was organised in Delhi in December 2021 under the direction of Sudarshan News TV editor Suresh Chavhanke. On January 30, the Delhi Police informed the Supreme Court's single judge bench, presided over by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, that the final report in the hate speech case regarding the event is "almost ready."

"The investigation is substantially completed. The final report is almost ready. It has been sent for vetting and we will be filing the final report in the shortest time", Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj told a bench.

The court was hearing a contempt petition brought by activist Tushar Gandhi, who claimed that the Delhi Police had disregarded the instructions given in the Tehseen Poonawalla case regarding the investigation of mob violence cases. The bench also included Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala. 

The Delhi Police had already been questioned by the bench on the status of the case's investigation. The CJI had inquired if anyone had been detained in connection with the matter and questioned why it took the Delhi police 5 months to file a FIR. The bench decided to put the hearing on hold for three weeks today after hearing what the ASG had to say.

When representing the petitioner, attorney Shadan Farasat made no objections to the adjournment. He did, however, add that the Delhi Police should make some additional clarifications. He emphasised that the Delhi Police had set March 17 as the day for gathering the accused's voice sample, according to their affidavit. Farasat emphasised that it must be completed quickly and cannot take that long.

"Secondly, what are the preventive steps as regards these people? What steps have they taken so that these type of incidents are not repeated by these persons again? That affidavit may be asked for."

According to ASG KM Nataraj, he will follow instructions in this regard. 

The bench noted the ASG's declaration that the inquiry has been mostly concluded and that the final report is in the process of being filed within a short period of time while postponing the hearing for three weeks.

You may recall that the Delhi Police initially held the position that the remarks uttered during the Hindu Yuva Vahini event did not constitute any offence. The Delhi Police claimed in an affidavit that "no hate speech was given against any community" at the event in response to another plea calling for action against the crimes of hate speech. However, the Supreme Court voiced displeasure with this stance taken by the Delhi Police and requested that a senior official file a "better affidavit" in its place. The FIR was filed by the Delhi Police in May 2022 as a result of the court's accusation. 

Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General of India, asked the bench to include the hate speech case against Sudarshan TV's UPSC Jihad program with the ongoing matter in today's sessions. He said–

"The Sudarshan TV matter is also connected to this".

The petition about the "UPSC jihad" programme is associated with a batch of petitions placed before a bench led by Justice KM Joseph, Farasat informed the bench, and the contempt petition was related a different occurrence. 

The court promised to look at the matter. It should be recalled that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting had submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court claiming that the UPSC Jihad show on Sudarshan TV was "not in good taste" and would "encourage communal views." It had "cautioned" the Suresh Chavhanke-led channel in this situation to "be careful in the future."

Case Title: Tushar Gandhi v. Rakesh Asthana And Anr. 
Citation: Conmt. Pet(C) No. 41/2022 in WP(C) No. 732/2017

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