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Day after 24 hours' deadline, HC gives 4 weeks to Centre to file response

Day after 24 hours deadline, HC gives 4 weeks to Centre to file response

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday, making the Centre a party in a PIL, granted four weeks to the Narendra Modi government to file its response to a plea seeking registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Sahib Singh and Abhay Verma along with others for making provocative statements that allegedly led to violent mob attacks and communal riots in north-east Delhi over the last few days claiming 38 lives.

On Wednesday, a different bench of the High Court, comprising of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh, had expressed anguish over the failure of the police to register FIR and asked the Police Commissioner to take a "conscious decision" on it by Thursday. However, in another turn of event, Justice Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court late on Wednesday evening.

A Bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar gave the time to Centre after Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta contended that being the stakeholder "it's our duty to maintain law and order situation".

In this context, the Centre, in its submission to the High Court, had stated that the situation was not conducive to take action against the hate speeches.

The Lieutenant-General of Delhi has appointed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to represent Delhi Police in the case filed by Harsh Mander in the Delhi High Court seeking probe in relation to the riots and also other cases arising from law and order situation in north-east, Shahdara and eastern districts of the national Capital.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya and advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair have also been authorised to represent Delhi Police in the said matters.

In this regard, the S-G opined: "Considering the prevailing situation in the city, we (Centre and Delhi Police) have not taken the decision as of now. We have deferred the decision (on lodging of an FIR) as of now and it would be done at the appropriate stage."

Mehta presented: "Action will be taken. We are making every effort to bring the situation in Delhi to normal," adding that "let normalcy be restored". He urged the court to grant him time to file a detailed reply. The court has adjourned the hearing for April 13.

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