New Delhi [India], August 16 (ANI): The Central government while filing its response before the Supreme Court on a plea alleging a rising number of attacks on Christian institutions and priests across the country, submitted that the majority of the incidents cited by the petitioner as attacks on Christians were wrongfully projected in news reports.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna was informed by the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the Centre has filed a preliminary note of objections on the plea.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, sought time to respond to the Centre's note and this top court adjourned the hearing for August 25.
The Centre said that there is no merit in the plea and the petitioner has "resorted to falsehood and self-serving documents" along with press reports which have misreported such incidents.
"The petitioners claimed to have based the petition on information gathered through sources like press reports (The Wire, The Scroll, Hindustan Times, Dainik Bhaskar, etc.), "independent" online databases and from findings of various non-profit organisations. It is submitted that enquiries reveal that majority of the incidents alleged as Christian persecution in these reports were either false or wrongfully projected," the Centre said.
Criminal cases arising out of personal issues have been given communal colour, said the Centre.
The response of the Centre came on a petition filed by Archbishop Of Bangalore Diocese Peter Machado.
The plea sought directions to stop violence and mob attacks against the members of the Christian community in various states across the country also seeking the implementation of earlier apex court guidelines to curb hate crimes.
The petition has sought the setting up of Special Investigation Teams with officers from outside the States where the incidents set out to register FIRs, conduct criminal investigations and prosecute the criminal offenders in accordance with the law. It further sought direction that the SITs file closure reports in accordance with the law, where false counter FIRs have been filed by the assailants against the victims.
The petition has also sought implementation of the guidelines issued in the Tehseen Poonawala judgement in which nodal officers were to be appointed to take note of hate crimes and register FIRs across the nation.
In the Supreme Court 2018, had issued a slew of guidelines for the Centre and State governments to control and prevent the increasing number of hate crimes, including mob violence and lynching.
The guidelines included fast-tracked trials, victim compensation, deterrent punishment and disciplinary action against lax law-enforcing officials. The top court had said offences such as hate crimes, cow vigilantism and lynching incidents should be nipped in the bud. (ANI)