The Lieutenant Governor has issued a show cause notice to Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC), against whom an FIR has been lodged for alleged "seditious and hateful" statements, the AAP government informed the Delhi High Court on Monday.
A bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, conducting the hearing through video conferencing, was informed by the Delhi government's counsel that the LG has also written a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for initiating action against DMC Chairman Zafarul-Islam Khan.
Advocate Anupam Srivastava, representing the Delhi government, said the LG wrote a letter to the chief minister on April 30 to direct the concerned administrative department to initiate action as per the provisions of Section 4 of the DMC Act against Khan.
The section provides for removal of a person from the post of chairperson or member.
He told the court that the LG has also issued a show cause notice to Khan on May 8 as to why action be not initiated against him.
The bench directed the authorities to decide the matter in a reasonable time and disposed of a petition seeking removal of Khan, whose tenure as the chairman of the commission is going to end in July.
The court was hearing a PIL which said that on April 28, Khan published a post having seditious and hateful comments through his official page on social media.
In the letter to the chief minister, the LG has stated that the content of the social media post prima facie appears to have the potential of disturbing communal harmony in the city and the matter is particularly serious considering that one of the functions of DMC is to make recommendations for ensuring, maintaining and promoting communal harmony in Delhi.
The plea, filed by retired bank official Subhash Chandra, said that on May 2, based on a complaint, the Delhi Police Special Cell has lodged an FIR against Khan under Sections 124A and 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for the alleged offences of sedition and promoting feelings of hatred between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence and language.
"Despite registration of FIR, the respondent no.4 (Khan) declared on May 3, that he still stands by his aforesaid incendiary comments. He said that it was 'erroneously' reported by sections of the media that he had deleted his tweet containing the crude remarks.... He said that he stands by his words and convictions," the plea, filed through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, said.
The petition alleged that it was evident from the public post on his Facebook account that it was "provocative, deliberate and seditious, intended to cause disharmony and create a rift in the society".
"By making such a hateful statement, the respondent no.4, who is holding such a responsible post, has endangered the unity and integrity of the country, tried to tarnish the secular image of India and spread hatred among two communities. The statement of respondent no.4 is factually incorrect, derogatory and anti-national," it claimed.
The plea sought direction to the Delhi Minorities Commission, Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor to forthwith remove Khan from the post of Chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission for his alleged seditious and hateful acts.