No Coercive Steps against Kanhaiya: Delhi High Court

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: July 18, 2018

The Delhi High Court has directed that no coercive steps be taken against JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar who was fined Rs.10,000 by JNU in relation to Sedition case. Kanhaiya Kumar moves Delhi High Court against fine imposed by JNU. A high-level panel of JNU had in 2016 recommended fine of Rs 10,000 on Kumar in connection with the February 9 event during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.

Kanhaiya Kumar

Image: PTI

Kanhaiya Kumar's plea, filed through advocate Tarannum Cheema, was listed for hearing today before Justice Siddharth Mridul. Former JNU students union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar has moved the Delhi High Court against the fine imposed on him by a high-level panel of the university in connection with a 2016 incident of alleged anti-India slogans being raised at an event relating to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging.

On July 5, the university had revealed that the panel upheld its decision against Umar Khalid and Kanhaiya Kumar and in some cases the penalty has been reduced. Mr Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, arrested in February 2016 on charges of sedition in connection with the controversial event, are out on bail. The panel had also recommended rustication of Umar Khalid in connection with the incident, apart from imposing financial penalty on 13 other students for violation of disciplinary norms. The students had then moved the Delhi High Court, which had directed the university to place the matter before an appellate authority to review the panel's decision.

On February 9, 2016, a poetry event was held at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in connection with the third anniversary of Guru’s hanging for his role in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. Sabrangindia’s exclusive expose of the District Magistrate’s Investigation into the Video doctoring by television channels may be read here. (Television as Lynch Mob: DM Report on JNU Incident raises Questions of Media Ethics)
It is worth recalling the context and content of the report. The Report submitted by Sanjay Kumar, Magistrate on March 2 completely exonerates Kanhaiya Kumar from shouting any anti-national slogans on February 9, 2016. Even on the role of Umar Khalid, the report states that the voice (allegedly heard giving certain slogans) is not visible on the video from the same source as the image, clearly suggesting doctoring. In the case of Anirban and Ashutosh, certain other slogans could be found to have been uttered by them but the melee and confusion of the crowd makes it difficult to offer certain conclusions. Further investigation has been recommended.

Delhi Government report on JNU Incident
Factual Report by the Government of NCT of Delhi, on the Incident which took place at the JNU Camus on February 9, 2016. Sanjay Kumar, Magistrate, New Delhi

Major Findings of the Report of the District Magistrate (DM):

  1. Nothing adverse could be found against Kanhaiya Kumar. No witness or video available to me could support allegation against him.
  2. Umar Khalid was visible in videos. His support for the role of Afzal Guri is known and he was the organizer of the event. His role needs to be further investigated (Page 1 ) The Magistrate further says that after a close watching of the videos, he “did not hear any slogan from the mouth of Umar Khalid” (Page 23)
  3. Three out of seven videos which were sent for verification were found to be doctored including one news clipping of a News Channel found on You-Tube
The report is regarding a February 9, 2016 protest march organised by a group of students at the campus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Campus where some anti-national slogans were raised. Another group of students protested against this event and raised slogans, JNU security and local police could avert any major fight On February 10, 2016 a news channel broadcast a video of a group of students raising slogans at the JNU campus. A controversy then erupted and many allegations and counter allegations were raised on diff media channels and on social media.

The Orders for Inquiry from the office of the deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia into the incident which happened at the JNU campus were given on February 13, 2016, the day after the arrest
Interestingly, our report had encapsulated that:
  • Three of the seven videos examined by the Truth Labs, Hyderabad to ascertain whether they were doctored or not, were found to have been doctored. The television channels that telecast these doctored videos have not been named in the report.
  • The reporter and cameraman of Zee News were invited onto the campus at 5.20 p.m. by Saurabh Sharma of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) who is general secretary of the JNUSU, on February 9, and it is after the telecast by Zee television of the doctored videos the next day that the local police station lodged the FIR. The FIR, filed under section 124A of the Indian penal Code (IPC) did not name any students as offenders.
  • While Zee News/television willingly gave the CD of the Video recording of the news telecast that led to the registration of an FIR to the police, the same news channel, despite repeated requests did not make available any recording for the purpose of the Magisterial Inquiry. This amounts, in law to suppression of evidence and non-cooperation with a judicial officer.
  • Several of the Security Officers under the Administration gave contradictory statements to the District Magistrate and the Internal Inquiry Committee.