The Supreme Court directed the Uttarakhand government to take preventive action and ensure that nothing untoward takes place during the scheduled Dharam Sansad in Rourkee tomorrow. "If an announcement has been made, then action has to be taken," the top court said.
"You know what is said at these Dharam Sansads. But if it is the same speaker, same text then you can take action," the Supreme Court said referring to the communally sensitive hate speeches made till now. The bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar was responding to the Uttarakhand government's excuse that even if it knew about a dharam sansad in advance, it could not anticipate what speeches would be made.
"We are informing you in advance. Don't explain (on preventive action that can be taken). Just take action," the top court said.
The top court clarified that the Chief Secretary, Secretary, and the Inspector General (IG) would be held personally accountable if any hate speeches were made at the dharam sansad in Uttarakhand tomorrow. "You will have to take immediate action…There are other ways of preventive action. You know how to do it," the bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar said.
The top court was hearing a batch of pleas filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court judge Anjana Prakash who sought criminal action against the speakers and organisers of the dharam sansads where calls for genocide of the Muslims are taken.
Take preventive action against Dharam Sansad: SC
The Supreme Court expressed its disappointment and lack of confidence in the governments of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand for failing to prevent the Dharam Sansads which have taken place in the past few months.
The top court told the Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand government that preventing the dharam sansad from taking place was more important step than simply impartially investigating the matter after the events have already taken place.
"The problem is not about trust but what we see is something else on the ground. Despite the 2018 judgement [Tehseen Poonawala judgment], yet things are happening," the Supreme Court observed after the Uttarakhand government asked for trust in their actions.
The Uttarakhand government however objected and said that attempts were being made to colour a particular community. "We are taking steps and we will take steps that nothing happens," the counsel representing the Uttarakhand government said.
Tell us what you did to stop the dharam sansad: SC to Himachal Pradesh
The Supreme Court pulled up the Himachal Pradesh government over its failure to take action to prevent the Una dharam sansad even after it was informed about it in advance.
"There are guidelines in the [Tehseen] Poonawalla case. Are you following it? No preventive action (taken)…you have to stop it (dharam sansad)," the bench said directing the Himachal Pradesh to file affidavit showing preventive steps taken by the government.
"Tell us what you did to stop it," the bench asked the Himachal Pradesh government after senior advocate Kapil Sibal—representing Ali and Prakash—told the court that hate speeches were made at the Una dharam sansad even after the authorities were informed of the scheduled event in advance.
Starting on April 17, a three-day religious conclave was held at Mubarikpur, Himachal Pradesh where the organisers and key speaker gave an open call to the Hindus to pick up arms in order to protect the Sanatan dharam.
"You not only have to conduct impartial investigations, but you have to stop this activity," the top court added.