The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the Delhi Police over the slow progress in its investigation in the case of hate speech at a Hindu Yuva Vahini Dharm Sansad organised over a year ago. The event was held on December 19, 2021, in Delhi.
Noting that the FIR in the matter was filed five months after the incident and no chargesheet has been filed to date, a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandradhud and Justice PS Narasimha directed the Investigating Officer in the case to place on record the steps taken in the investigation in the matter so far before it within two weeks.
“We are of the view that it will be necessary for the investigating officer (IO) to place on the record the steps which have been taken to pursue the investigation since the incident took place on December 19, 2021,” the court said.
The directions from the Supreme Court came during the hearing of a contempt petition filed by Tushar Gandhi which alleged that the Delhi police had violated the top court’s directions in the Tehseen Poonawalla case which set out specific steps on dealing with such cases.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Shadan Farasat sought to highlight the gravity of the case and claimed that there was an alleged call for action against the Muslim community. It is a call for action for violence of a certain kind. This is not just one person, one person is leading and everybody is taking an oath behind him,” he said.
The petitioner’s counsel further pointed out that the Tehseen Poonawalla judgment makes filing of FIR and chan=rgesheet a requirement in such cases.
“FIR was not registered for 5 months. Even in the counter filed now, they say investigation is underway. They don’t indicate if they have called anyone for interrogation under Section 41A. They’ve not arrested anyone, no chargesheet has been filed,” he further said, adding that he was not pressing for contempt against the DGP but only seeking action in the case.
Appearing for the Delhi Police, Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj told the court that the delay was not deliberate and the Delhi Police has not violated the top court’s directions in the Tehseen Poonawalla matter. The court, however, pointed to the delay in filing the FIR in the case.
“What are you doing in terms of the investigation? The incident takes place on the 19th of December 2021. The FIR is registered 5 months later in May 2022. Why do you require 5 months to register an FIR?” CJI asked the ASG.
The CJI also countered the ASG’s submission that there has been compliance with its guidelines when the FIR is filed five months later. “How have you complied with the guidelines, if you register an FIR five months later and eight months after that, there is no substantial progress?” the CJI asked and sought to know what progress has been made in the probe after the registration of the FIR.
“What steps you have taken after May 2021? What have you done? How many arrests you have made? What investigation have you done? How many people have been examined?” the CJI further asked.
The ASG, however, said that these were only allegations by the petitioner’s counsel and added that he apprise the court of the progress in the investigations after taking instructions from the Delhi police.