More than 40 people were killed in communal rioting in the Indian capital with several accounts of police turning a blind eye to the violence.
In the past two weeks, there have been severe sectarian riots going on in New Delhi, which have claimed the lives of more than 40 people. The riots began as tensions over the new citizenship law bubbled over with Hindu mobs attacking Muslims demonstrating against it.
Victims of the Delhi riots have requested a police investigation into hate speech by several individuals. The Supreme Court of India on Monday said it would wait until Wednesday to hear about the matter, despite the plea’s urgency.
The Supreme Court made a controversial comment on the Delhi riots on Monday with Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde denying any responsibility from the court for the riots, saying: “We are not saying people should die. That kind of pressure we are not equipped to handle. We cannot stop things from happening. We cannot give preventive reliefs. We feel a kind of pressure on us…”
Bobde went on to say: “We can only deal with the situation after it occurs, the kind of pressure on us, we can’t handle that... it’s like Court is responsible. We are reading newspapers, we know the kind of comments are made. Courts come on to the scene after the thing is done and courts have not been able to prevent such thing,"
CJI Bobde’s statement triggered criticism from many Indians who began questioning the role of India’s top courts in curbing what looks like a pre-planned pogrom against Muslims in Delhi.
CJI Bobde is a legit piece of sh*t. Another gem from Nagpur ruining the country 😑 https://t.co/zs5NkHPqif— Saniya. (@ShitSaniyaSays) March 2, 2020
Last week on February 26, 2020 a Delhi high court judge was transferred overnight after holding three key hearings on the Delhi riots in which he blasted Delhi police for not following the essential guidelines on investigating complaints about hate speeches delivered by senior ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
Many observers say those speeches created a climate of hatred which culminated in a full-fledged anti-Muslim riot.
Lawyer Sanjoy Ghose has pointed out that Justice S. Muralidhar’s transfer is unusual because it is in effect immediately, as opposed to previous transfers which allowed for “reasonable time” for other judges.
A few transfer notifications of recent times would demonstrate that always the judge is given reasonable time to assume office in the transferred posting. The language of Justice Muralidhar’s transfer notification transferring him with immediate effect is unprecedented! pic.twitter.com/TV6Z8iDLRK— sanjoy ghose (@advsanjoy) February 27, 2020
Two years ago in January, four senior Supreme Court judges held the first ever news conference by sitting judges at India’s top court, saying they were concerned about the fate of democracy in India, the BBC reported.
"The four of us are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country," Justice Jasti Chelameswar said at the news conference.
The four Supreme Court judges accused Chief Justice Dipak Misra of assigning cases according to his whims, and suggested that he was trying to affect the outcome of important cases.
While Misra remained silent in the face of accusations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting with his law minister.
In April 2018, seven opposition parties sought to impeach Misra, but their petition was rejected. Misra served until October 2018 until the mandatory retirement at age 65.