We don't rely on newspapers to arrive at decisions: SC

We don't rely on newspapers to arrive at decisions: SC

The apex court, which said that law and order has to be maintained by the police and not the court, said that police is entitled to arrest those who have committed offence.

"We are not going to rely on newspapers to arrive at judicial decisions", the Supreme Court said Tuesday when a petitioner referred to media reports about the statement of Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) on the alleged police atrocities on students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The apex court, which said that law and order has to be maintained by the police and not the court, said that police is entitled to arrest those who have committed offence.

"We are not going to read newspapers. We are not going to rely on newspapers to arrive at judicial decisions," a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde told senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who was appearing for the petitioners.

Follow the Citizenship Act protests live

While refusing to appoint a committee of a retired judge of the apex court as was done in the Telengana encounter case, the bench said: "No parallel can be drawn between them. In Telangana, one committee could have gone into the incident but in the incidents of violence by the protesting students at Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University or any other place, it is not possible as the issue of jurisdiction will arise."

"We, therefore, decline your prayer," the bench told a battery of senior advocates appearing on behalf of the protesting students.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising protested saying "you have a way of disarming us".

"We respect all judges as much as retired judges, sitting judges and also high court judges. But we will have more confidence if retired Supreme Court judge is appointed to conduct inquiry to determine the facts," Jaising said.

The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, refused to set up a committee of a retired apex court judge to inquire into the allegations of police atrocities on students and incidents of violence during protests against CAA at AMU and JMI and asked the petitioners to approach respective high courts with their grievances.

During the hearing, the bench took umbrage when the petitioners' lawyers raised the pitch of arguments saying, "we do not appreciate shouting in the court. This is not a shouting match. This is not a street or place where you have to shout. You are shouting because media is here.

"We don't want this kind of atmosphere".

When one of the petitioners' lawyer said that the apex court should intervene in the matter as protests are going on across the country against the CAA.

"You should be conscious of the fact that this is not a court of facts. You can present the facts before us through the order of the high court. Then we will see," the bench said.

"We are not the institution which has to maintain law and order," the bench said, adding, "We are not telling you that there is no problem. We are not saying that this is not serious."

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that senior officers of Delhi Police and Meerut Range are present in the court with all the documents to satisfy the judicial conscience of the court.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the petitioners, said that FIRs were being filed against the students all over the country and this is a matter of concern.

"If you want peace, you cannot file hundreds of FIRs against the students, arrest them and throw them in jails. Our prayer is that no coercive action should be taken against the students," Jaising said.

To this, the bench asked, "What if somebody has broken the law or somebody is throwing stones, burning buses?".

Jaising said when there was a clash between lawyers and police at a district court complex in Delhi, the court had passed order that no coercive action will be made.

 

"It (order) was by the high court," the bench said.

Jaising said police should be restrained from entering the varsity campus without consent of the Vice-Chancellor and free humanitarian medical aid should be provided to students who have suffered injuries during these protests.

Mehta told the court that not a single student has been arrested so far in these matters and when they were injured during the violent protests at Jamia, police had taken them to hospital and free of cost treatment was provided to them.

When Jaising raised the problems being faced by students due to sudden closure of JMI, the bench said, "We are not saying that you do not have any problem. Each of our chief justice (of high courts) will respond adequately and pass appropriate orders in each of these cases."

"Let us have the order of the high courts," the bench said.

Gonsalves told the bench that around 60 students from AMU were "tortured" by the Uttar Pradesh Police and some of them were undergoing treatment in ICU.

Mehta, however, denied this and said that "incorrect statements" are being made in the court.

He told the bench that 14 buses and 20 private cars were vandalised during the violent protest at Jamia Nagar in Delhi on Sunday against the amended Citizenship Act.

He said that 67 persons were taken to the hospital by the police while 31 cops had sustained injuries.

When the bench asked Mehta as to why police had arrested students without informing the varsity authorities, the Solicitor General said, "No student is arrested so far".

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