Justice BV Nagarathna told petitioner Jitendra Tyagi (formerly Syed Waseem Rizvi) that he has to be fair when it comes to impleading parties in his petition.
The remark was made by the judge after the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), through its counsel Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, expressed concerns that only Muslim parties have been impleaded in the petition
Dave argued that Muslim political parties were being selectively impleaded in the matter by the petitioner.
“We should not be considering Muslim parties alone,” Dave contended while urging the Court to first hear the case on this objection.
Justice Nagarathna cautioned Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia, who appeared for Rizvi, that the petitioner must also be secular in his approach.
“Petitioner must be secular … You also have to be fair and include everyone,” she said.
However, Justice MR Shah, who was heading the bench, indicated that the Court was not inclined to take up this aspect in today’s hearing.
“I am disappointed that my Lords are not considering …“, Dave said in response.
“We will,” the Court assured.
During the course of his submissions, Bhatia told the Court that the case involved important Constitutional questions, and added that rejoinders may not be necessary prior to the final hearing.
Meanwhile, the All-India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party urged the Supreme Court to refer case for hearing by a Constitution bench.
Appearing for the AIMIM, Senior Advocate and former Attorney General for India KK Venugopal submitted that several other parties will also be affected by the issue and that it would have far-reaching consequences
The Court, in turn, said that it will consider this aspect of reference on the next date of hearing, on February 20, 2023.
Venugopal also echoed concerns earlier raised by the IUML that the petitioner, in this case, has not fully disclosed his criminal antecedents. In this regard, Venugopal pointed out that the petitioner is presently out on bail and was a convert to Hinduism from Islam.