JNU students rejoice as Delhi HC sets aside Penalty on Kanhaiya Kumar

Written by Sabrang India | Published on: July 21, 2018

The Delhi Court set aside the order dated July 4, 2018 of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s appellate authority concerning former students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar on the grounds of it “suffering from procedural impropriety, illegality and irrationality”. The order was in connection with February 9 event in 2016, in which it was alleged that anti India slogans were raised.

kanhaiya Kumar

Image Courtesy: News18

Justice Siddharth Mridul reportedly said that the JNU office’s order was “unsustainable on innumerable counts” after which the counsel for the varsity submitted that they are recalling the decision.

A fine of Rs. 10,000 was imposed by the Appellate authority on Kanhaiya Kumar in connection with the said incident. Following the imposition of fine, the students had approached the court which had directed the varsity to place the matter before an appellate authority to review the panel’s decision.

The Bench noted that although the order purportedly imposes a fine of Rs. 10,000, the action against Kumar constitutes disciplinary action that entails “serious civil consequences” for him. Hence, on a prima-facie view, the order is unsustainable on innumerable counts.
The court even asked the counsel for the varsity if their High Level Committee had a legal standing!

The hearing will continue for all other petitioners on Tuesday but coercive action can’t be taken in the meanwhile.

On Februrary 9, 2016, a poetry event was held at JNU called “The Country Without a Postoffice” in which students were protesting the hanging of Afzal Guru in connection with the Parliament attack on December 13, 2001. Moreover, the programme was also held to remember and commemorate human rights violations in Kashmir.

A ‘High Level Enquiry Committee’ (HLEC) had said that another student Umar Khalid be rusticated and simultaneously exorbitant fines were imposed on 13 other students.

Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya were arrested in February 2016 on charges of sedition in connection with the controversial event and now are out on bail.

SabrangIndia had done an exclusive expose of the District Magistrate’s investigation into the doctored video that led to the arrests, disciplinary actions and media trial of the students.

The said report had completely exonerated Kumar from shouting any alleged anti-India slogans. On the role of Khalid, the report had stated that the voice wasn’t audible in the video from the same source as the image, suggesting that the video was doctored.

Since the February 9 event in 2016, the university has seen many assaults on freedom of expression of the students and has consistently been in the news for one or the other reason. The JNU VC brought in several autocratic measures and rules that went completely against the autonomy and democratic ethos of the institute. Recently, the Delhi High Court even ordered that no coercive action could be taken against the students and faculty who were protesting the mandatory attendance rule arbitrarily imposed on the students.

The students are looking forward to submit their PhD theses on Monday. A feeling of rejoice struck twitter as the order came.

The current JNU students’ union president congratulated Kumar on twitter.

Mohit JNU