The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo moto cognizance of a video clip of a speech by social activist Harsh Mander, where he made objectionable statements against the top court on its decision in crucial matters such as NRC, Ayodhya and Kashmir.
Mander had moved the top court seeking FIR against BJP leaders for making hate speeches and accused them of inciting riots.
According to the video clip from December 2019 in Jamia Millia Islamia, he is allegedly heard saying "I have been observing the Supreme Court for sometime...In its judgment in NRC, Ayodhya and Kashmir, the Supreme Court has failed to protect humanity, equality and secularism.
"We can no longer bank on Supreme Court and Parliament. That is why all of you will have to come on the street. Ultimately you will get justice only on the street."
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, during the hearing on the Delhi riots matter, termed it as the "worst kind of hate speech" as "Mander is seen instigating citizens against the country's Supreme Court". The top court has asked Mehta to file an affidavit today and agreed to take up the matter on Friday.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant made it clear that Mander's plea against hate speech by BJP leaders will be taken up only after the issue pertaining to the video clip is decided.
The top court made some sharp observations on the alleged video clip.
The Chief Justice told Mander's lawyer Karuna Nandy: "If this is what he feels about the Supreme Court, why should we hear him at all?...This is what you think of this court...before we hear you (Mander's lawyer), you go through the transcript and respond to these allegations."
He also told Nandy: "If this is what you feel about the Supreme Court then we have to decide what to do with you."
Nandy said: "He (Mander) has never said it. No copies given to me."
Chief Justice asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to give transcripts and documents to Mander to prepare a response to the allegations.
The apex court also shot down Mander's counsel request to put off the case against him to a later day, as he was currently on a flight to the US, and would be back on Sunday.
Mehta replied: "Oh!...so he is enjoying his time in the US after doing all this."
During the hearing, Justice Gavai also queried Mander's lawyer about this video clip allegedly showing Harsh Mander instigating a crowd against the apex court and Parliament.
Mehta also pointed out that senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who was appearing for victims of Delhi riots, had appeared for Mander in a case connected with riots in the Delhi High Court. Mehta insisted Colin was appearing for different petitioners in the Supreme Court without a complete disclosure.
The apex court also questioned Centre on registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and others, if the atmosphere was conducive to lodge FIRs.
Mehta said that it should be left to the law enforcement authorities, as many factors were involved.
The Centre said over 400 FIRs have been registered. It denied statement made by petitioners counsel that 10 people were dying everyday.
Colin, in his petition referred to alleged hate speeches made by BJP leaders -- Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Kapil Mishra.