JNU row: SC to confine hearing to Feb 15 court violence

Last Updated 22 February 2016, 09:23 IST
The Supreme Court today made it clear that it is not going to broaden the scope of its hearing and will confine itself to the violent incident in which journalists and JNU students and teachers were attacked at the Patiala House court complex on February 15.

"We are not concerned with other incidents. We are only concerned with the episode that had happened on February 15," a bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre said when a lawyer on behalf of Karkardooma Bar Association sought to intervene in the matter.

During the hearing, the bench perused various reports filed by Delhi Police, Bar Council of India, Delhi High Court Registry and a six-member lawyers' panel.

"There are allegations and counter-allegations" and the reports be exchanged and objections be filed before the matter is heard on March 10, the bench said. The apex bar body, Bar Council of India, sought the court's response as to whether it should proceed with the proposed inquiry against lawyers who had allegedly participated in the violent incidents in the Patiala House court complex on February 15 and 17 when jailed JNUSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar was being produced in connection with the sedition case.

"Let all the concerned receive reports. Today we are not saying anything on it," the bench said.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and Delhi Police, asked the court that contents of reports be not made available to the public for the time being as it may influence the hearing of the bail application of the accused which will come up before the Delhi High Court tomorrow. Senior Advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha, representing Delhi Police, also endorsed the view of the law officers on the issue.

The Karkardooma Bar Association also moved for impleading itself as a party in the matter on the ground that lawyers are being victimised and are being termed as goons and criminals.

However, the apex court rejected their plea saying that "we are not concerned with the subsequent incidents. Sorry."

The bench, in its order, referred to names of the lawyers who would be getting various reports in the matter and they will be entitled to file their objections, if any.

The apex court had on February 19 transferred Kanhaiya's bail plea to the Delhi High Court while declining to entertain the petition, saying its direct intervention will be a dangerous proposition. Kanhaiya's lawyers then immediately moved the high court with the bail petition.

The apex court had asked the high court to expeditiously deal with the matter. While transferring the bail plea, the bench had taken an assurance from the Solicitor General that in the "prevailing extraordinary situation" pertaining to this matter, the Government of India and the Delhi Police Commissioner would provide adequate safety and security to the accused and a stream of lawyers who will be appearing in the high court.

It had said the counsel for all the parties would be given preference for entering the court room at the high court and the Registrar General would be responsible for limiting the number of people to be allowed to go in.

It was not in agreement with the arguments advanced by a battery of senior advocates, including Soli Sorabjee, Raju Ramachandran and Rajeev Dhawan that extra-ordinary law and order situation, threat to life of the accused and his counsel, hostile environment at the lower court and the simmering situation compelled them to rush directly to it.

Kanhaiya had on February 18 directly moved the apex court seeking bail while claiming threat to his life in Tihar jail.
In the petition, filed through advocate Anindita Pujari, Kanhaiya, who was also attacked in Patiala House court complex by a group of lawyers, has claimed innocence.

Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12 on sedition charge following a controversial event at JNU campus where anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.

The student leader was produced in the court on February 17 after expiry of his police custody, where a group of men dressed in lawyers' robes unleashed a brazen attack on him and others, which included journalists, who were present there.

Kanhaiya had sought the apex court's intervention, saying no purpose would be served by keeping him in the jail and the police was finding it difficult to even produce him in the court.
(Published 22 February 2016, 09:18 IST)

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