SC stays trial court proceedings against TN BJP Chief Annamalai

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The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the proceedings going on in the trial court against Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai for allegedly delivering a hate speech against Christians during an interview with a YouTube channel in October 2022 regarding the bursting of firecrackers.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta after reviewing the transcript of the interview statements, said, “Prima facie, there is no hate speech. No case is made out.”

The bench stayed the further proceedings before the trial court,” and issued a notice to the complainant, who accused Annamalai of delivering the hate speech against Christians in the October 22, 2022 interview, two days before Diwali.

The bench directed the complainant to file the reply by the week commencing April 29, 2024.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra and advocate Sai Deepak, representing Annamalai, presented the

transcript of the interview to the bench, asserting it was not a case of hate speech.

Annamalai filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court order that refused to quash the summons issued to him in the case.

The High Court declined to quash the summons on February 8, noting that the psychological impact on an individual or a group must also be considered under the definition of hate speech.

The matter pertains to an interview given by BJP leader Annamalai to a YouTube channel, a clip of which was shared on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s X (then Twitter) handle on October 22, 2022.

In the interview, Annamalai spoke about the existence of an internationally-funded Christian missionary NGO allegedly involved in undermining Hindu culture by filing cases in the Supreme Court to prevent Hindus from bursting crackers.

The Madras High Court said that the statements made by Annamalai reveal a divisive intent to depict the NGO as acting against Hindu culture.

The complaint was filed against Annamalai by one V Piyush in the trial court (Chennai) on the charges of giving hate speech to create unrest in the society.

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