Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Need to separate ‘grain from chaff’, says SC; asks MHA to seek report on attacks on Christians from 8 states

Observing that it needs to separate “grain from the chaff”, Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to call for reports from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand on alleged attacks on members of the Christian community, rejecting remonstration by the Centre.
The top court said though it believes crime against an individual does not necessarily mean crime against society, but even if 10% of the cases alleged in the PIL is true, then it needs to go to the bottom of the issue. “We need to separate grain from the chaff, even though we believe that an attack on individuals does not mean it is an attack on the community. We need to verify the claims of any such incident claimed in the PIL,” a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said.
Deprecating the court’s stand, the Centre contended 162 of the cases mentioned in the PIL have been found to be fake on verification at the ground level. Responding to the contention, the bench said, “This is a PIL and we are starting with a presumption that what is being claimed may be true. “We can have a verification exercise and start with at least 4-5 states and ask the Home Ministry to submit a report after collating the data on what action has been taken on such incidents of violence, status of FIRs and arrests made and whether any charge sheet has been filed in these cases or not.”
The court directed the chief secretaries of all eight states to ensure these details are submitted to the MHA. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said majority of the alleged cases mentioned in the PIL were found to be false and based on “self-serving articles” published on a web portal upon verification. He insisted the court should not entertain such PILs and pass orders that will open a Pandora’s box and could have wider ramifications.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, said in majority of the attacks against the members of the Christian community, there is a pattern, and are being done with the connivance of police authorities.