SC Stays Proceedings Against Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai in Hate Speech Case

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GG News Bureau
New Delhi, 27th Feb.
 The Supreme Court on Monday intervened in a criminal case filed against Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai, staying the proceedings related to an alleged hate speech against Christians. The case stemmed from an interview Annamalai gave to a YouTube channel in October 2022 regarding the bursting of firecrackers.

Upon reviewing the transcript of the interview, a bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta found no prima facie evidence of hate speech. Consequently, the bench issued a notice to the complainant and stayed further proceedings before the trial court.

The notice, returnable in the week commencing April 29, 2024, signals a temporary halt to the legal proceedings against Annamalai. Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra and advocate Sai Deepak, representing Annamalai in court, presented the transcript of the interview, asserting that it did not constitute hate speech.

Annamalai has approached the Supreme Court challenging a previous Madras High Court order that declined to quash the summons issued against him in the case. The high court, in its ruling on February 8, emphasized the need to consider the psychological impact on individuals or groups within the definition of hate speech.

The summons originated from a complaint filed by an individual named V Piyush. The high court highlighted that Annamalai’s interview, approximately 44.25 minutes in duration, was condensed into a six-and-a-half-minute clip shared on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s social media handle.

The content of the interview purportedly implicated an internationally-funded Christian missionary NGO in undermining Hindu culture by litigating against firecracker use in Supreme Court cases. The high court discerned a divisive intent in Annamalai’s statements, portraying the NGO as antagonistic to Hindu culture.

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