In a sign that it needs to separate the “grain from the chaff” when it comes to allegations of abuse of members of the Christian community, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to request reports from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand despite opposition from the center .
The Supreme Court said although it believes that a crime against an individual does not necessarily mean a crime against society, but even if 10 percent of the alleged cases in the PIL are true, it needs to get back to the gist of the case.
The center told the court that it should not consider cases in the public interest or the personal protection law based on “reports that serve its personal interests” as it could have broader repercussions.
“We need to separate the grain from the chaff, even though we believe that an attack on individuals does not mean it is an attack on society. We need to verify the allegations of any such incident purporting to be related to a public interest litigation (PIL),” Judges D.Y. said Chandrashod and Hema Kohli.
The Center claimed that 162 of the cases mentioned in the Political Isolation Law were discovered to be fake when verified at ground level.
In response to the controversy, the council said: “This is the PIL and we start with the assumption that what is being demanded may be true. We can do a verification process and start with at least 4-5 countries and ask the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to submit a report after collecting data on the actions taken regarding these incidents of violence, the status of initial information reports and arrests made and whether or not any indictments have been filed in these cases.” The court directed chief trustees in all eight states to ensure that these details were provided to the Department of Home Affairs.
Prosecutor General Tushar Mehta asserted that the majority of the alleged cases mentioned in the PIL were found to be false and based on “personal interest articles” posted on an online portal upon verification.
He insisted that the court should not receive such PILs and pass orders that would open Pandora’s box and could have wider repercussions.
“First there was an era where personal protection laws were written on a postcard, then came an era where criminal law records were filed on the basis of press reports and the courts took steps to curb this practice. Now, the third era is that it was filed on the basis of a fact-finding mission. Self-problem and reports are published on some Internet portals. The majority of attacks against members of the Christian community, there is a pattern, and they are carried out with the complicity of police authorities, said senior attorney Colin Gonsalves, who appeared on behalf of the petitioners.
Mr. Mehta called the allegations exaggerated, and insisted that government verification at the ground level had not established the occurrence of such incidents of a societal nature as the petitioners claimed.
Mr. Gonçalves said that in most cases police have brought charges against Christian priests and that the attackers faced no action.
“Last year, more than 700 cases of violence against members of the Christian community were reported,” he said.
Mr. Mehta said since none of the aggrieved parties are in court but the petitioners, who claim to represent their case, are present, the court should not consider the petition and instead allow the victims to move court or file an FIR in case of violence against them.
The court noted at this point that victims may not have the means or may not be in a position to file a complaint against the perpetrators.
Mr. Mehta said that if the petitioners could go to the Supreme Court, surely they could provide all possible legal assistance to the victims to help them bring cases against the perpetrators.
The platform gave two months to the MHA to request reports from the states.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by the NDTV crew and is published from a syndicated feed.)