Hate Speech: Supreme Court stays proceedings against BJP Leader K. Annamalai

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On February 8, the Madras High Court had refused to quash proceedings against the BJP leader, stating that the statement of Annamalai “whipped up communal fervour”, by portraying that a Christian Missionary NGO was attempting to destroy hindu culture


The Supreme Court on Monday stayed proceedings against BJP Leader K. Annamalai in an ongoing hate speech case against him for his remarks on Christian missionaries.

The bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta said that on the face of it, Annamalai’s remarks do not constitute the offence under section 153A of of the Indian Penal Code, and as such, issued notice on the BJP leader’s petition, also challenging a February 8 Madras High Court order.

The Madras High Court had refused to quash the criminal case filed against Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai for his alleged claim that it was a Christian missionary NGO that had first filed a case before the Supreme Court seeking a ban on the bursting of crackers during Deepavali.

The bench of Justice Venkatesh had said,

”From the speech of the petitioner, it is unmistakable that he was attempting ot portray a calculated attempt made by a Christian Missionary NGO, which is funded internationally, to destroy Hindu culture. It also whips up a communal fervour when he says "we are all running to the Supreme Court to.
counter this" The public was, therefore, led to believe that Christians are out to finish off Hindu's and that "we" (in this context Hindus) were running to the Supreme Court to defend it. A petition filed in the interests of the environment was suddenly converted into a vehicle for communal tension.”

The FIR against Annamalai was been filed on the complaint of Environmental activist V. Piyush of Salem and the court of the Judicial Magistrate at Salem, after considering the allegations made in the application found that offences had been made out against the petitioner under Sections 153A and 505(1)(b) of the Indian Penal Code. 

Piyush alleged that Annamalai made the false claim during an interview given to a YouTube channel on October 22, 2022, just two days before the Deepavali festival that year. He also claimed that the video of the interview was also widely shared on social media.

In Annamalai’s plea before the Supreme Court, it has been inter alia averred that the High Court had failed to consider that “the speech was made more than 400 days back, for which there was no consequential event”.

The plea also states that the High Court had not even viewed the speech and did not even mark it as a document, thereby ignoring the context of it.
Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra & Advocate J Sai Deepak appeared for Annamalai while the petition was filed through Advocate on Record MA Chinnaswamy.

Case title: K Annamalai Vs. V. Piyush