New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Election Commission to respond to a plea for suspension of the recognition of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) as a political party over its alleged use of "hate language" against non-Marathis on its official website.
MNS Chief Raj Thackeray at a film function in Mumbai. File pic
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul directed the commission to examine the issue and come up with measures "to check political parties from promoting disharmony and feelings of enmity and hatred amongst people".
The bench saw the MNS website in court and observed: "You (Election Commission) are not doing your job properly. This kind of hate language is going on unhampered every day."
The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Mithilesh Kumar Pandey, seeking direction to the commission to withdraw recognition of the MNS as a registered party for violating the Model Code of Conduct.
During the hearing, the bench refuted the commission's claim that it was a "law and order issue".
The bench remarked: "This offending material is still on the website. When will you act against it?"
The MNS on its website says: "Maharashtra Navnirman Sena will fight to its last breath to eliminate the interference of the non-Marathi power-mongers from outside the state in the state's politics and social life, thereby reinforcing the existence of Maharashtra for the Marathi Manus."
The bench took strong objection to the offending material and said: "Nobody can claim to itself any territory which is part of India. Every citizen has equal rights over every part of the country."
Asking the commission to give its response, the court posted the matter for March 28.
The plea, filed against the commission, the Maharashtra government, the MNS and party chief Raj Thackeray, said that MNS members have routinely made hate speeches against people from the northern states of India.
"They have disturbed communal harmony by making inflammatory statements against people belonging to different religions/region and distorted their impression of the Hindu religion/particular region and ideology."
"Additionally members of the MNS have engaged in mob violence, with explicit support and sponsorship of their party leaders, by attacking innocent civilians merely because of their religion or region or at time even because of their refusal to converse in a particular language," the plea said.
The plea also sought directions to the MNS and Raj Thackeray to disclose all financial contributions and income received by them along with the initiation of an investigation into the source of funding.