Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha allowed only if ‘no hate speech’ is guaranteed: SC

The SC on Friday directed the Maharashtra government to ensure no use of hate speeches if the Hindu Jan Aakrosh rally is permitted in Mumbai on 5 February.
Justices KM Joseph and JB Pardiwala’s bench issued a directive stating that if the event is to take place, it would be subject to the requirement that no one will use hate speech, behave in defiance of the law, or disrupt public order. The bench stated that if the incident occurs, the police would videotape it, and the court should have access to its contents.
“Record submissions of Solicitor General that if permission is applied for holding the apprehended meeting on February 5, it will be considered and if permission is granted, it will be subject to the condition that nobody will make any hate speech or act in defiance of law and in violation of public order,” the bench said in its order.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra government, gave the undertaking that action will be taken against hate speeches.
However, the Solicitor General also questioned the demand to stop the event, saying that it would amount to “pre-censorship”.
“See what happened in Uttarakhand and then State took action. If there is a replica of what happened then we cannot allow this,” Justice Joseph said.
“We may be reluctant to grant a relief that this procession is not held but it should be ensured that during this rally no rash statements are made and steps are taken and vigil is kept,” the bench added.
In support of the petitioner, senior attorney Kapil Sibal said that serious remarks made by attendees of a meeting on July 29—among them, an MP from the ruling party—should be taken into account before considering whether to permit a subsequent meeting.
A petition alleging that several events and demonstrations are organised throughout Maharashtra in support of the social and economic boycott of Muslims was being heard by the Supreme Court at the time.
The argument made in the petition was that a rally scheduled for February 5 in Mumbai will be used as a platform to sow division among groups and that the court should intervene to order the State authorities to take appropriate action and prevent it.

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