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Innocent Admission

Contempt proceedings sought against Harsh Mander for remarks against Supreme Court

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New Delhi, March 4, 2020-

The Delhi Police on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to initiate contempt proceedings against social activist Harsh Mander, who delivered a speech instigating violence and “contemptuous” of the top court to a huge gathering of people outside Jamia Millia Islamia in December 2019.

“This clip is freely available on social media. Harsh Mander is known for taking contemptuous stand and bringing the judiciary as an institution and individual judges to disrepute,” said the Delhi Police in a two-page affidavit and provided a copy of this speech in a pen drive to the top court.

Mander had moved the top court seeking FIR against BJP leaders for making hate speeches and accused them of inciting riots. The police urged the top court to dismiss Mander’s plea with exemplary costs and initiate contempt proceedings against him.

“It is submitted that I have come across a video clip showing Harsh Mander delivering a speech which is not only instigating the violence, but is also seriously contemptuous as it makes derogatory remarks against the Supreme Court to a huge gathering of people,” said the Delhi Police affidavit.

According to the video clip from December 2019 in Jamia Millia Islamia, Mander is allegedly heard saying: “I have been observing the Supreme Court for some time…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 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 , 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.”

At this, the Chief Justice asked the Solicitor General 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.  (Agency)

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