Days after the Centre backed the prosecution of senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for allegedly making "hate speech against the community of India" in his book named "Terrorism in India", the government has backtracked on its stand in the Supreme Court.
The Centre on Wednesday told the SC that the affidavit filed by the Home Ministry on the issue did not reflect its stand, The Times of India reported.
An affidavit filed by the Home Ministry in the apex court earlier this month stated that "the petitioner has written a book named 'Terrorism in India' wherein he made hate speech against the community of India. The book- its theme, its language, its innuendoes, the similes it employs and the moral of its story, if any- in order to ascertain whether the offending passages read in the context of the book as a whole fall within the mischief of Section 153A. The book to be considered in all its aspects as it contains matter which ‘promotes feelings of enmity and hatred between Hindus and Muslims in India’. Therefore the petitioner has violated sections of IPC."
In a fresh affidavit, the Centre said that the old affidavit should not be considered as its stand and that expressing opinion on the the book was the subject matter of another court, states the report. "The counter affidavit filed by the answering respondent is in no way the conception of the answering respondent relating to the book in question written by the petitioner, which is the subject matter of challenge before the courts below," the Centre said in its new submission.
The TOI report further states, "'In that view of the matter, the submissions made in the counter affidavit particularly the contents of para 11 apart from supporting the validity of the provisions of law challenged by the petitioner, what is stated is merely the statement of fact and is not any expression, opinion or decision of the answering respondent,' the affidavit said, dodging the crucial issue of whether Swamy was liable for prosecution for allegedly promoting hatred among communities."
The Home Ministry in its earlier affidavit had sought the dismissal of Swamy's plea challenging the constitutional validity of Sections 153, 153A,153B, 295, 295A, 298 and 505 of the IPC regarding hate speech.