JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar
New Delhi: A city court on Wednesday asked the Delhi government to expedite the process of granting requisite sanction to prosecute former JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar and others in a 2016 sedition case, saying it can't sit on the file indefinitely.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat said that precious time of the court is being wasted as the decision with respect to the grant of sanction to prosecute hangs fire and gave the Delhi Police three weeks to get the permission needed to prosecute Kumar and other accused, including former Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, in the case.
"Authorities can't sit on the file for an indefinite period," the judge observed.
The court posted the matter for February 28 after the Delhi Police sought more time to get the sanctions, saying the documents were pending with Delhi government and were expected in a matter of days.
"The IO (investigating officer) has stated that so far sanction has not been granted...and the matter is pending with concerned department. IO has filed the present charge sheet for the offence under section 124-A (sedition) IPC, without first obtaining the requisite sanction...and now adjournment is being sought on the grounds that process relating to obtaining of sanction is underway.
"The precious time of the court is being wasted as the decision with respect to the grant of sanction hangs fire. After filing of the charge sheet, no department can sit on the file with regard to sanction. The department concerned would do well to speed up the matter regarding the sanction," the court said.
It had during an earlier hearing questioned Delhi Police for filing a charge sheet against Kumar and others without procuring the sanctions.
"Why did you file (the charge sheet) without approval? You don't have a legal department," the court had said.
On January 14, the police filed the charge sheet at a city court against Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported seditious slogans raised on the campus during an event on February 9, 2016.
Police also charged Khalid and Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during the event to mark the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru.
Earlier, they had claimed before the court here that Kumar had raised anti-India slogans in 2016 "to incite hatred and disaffection towards the government".
Police cited statements of various witnesses in its charge sheet to state that Kumar was walking along with the protesters where a number of unidentified persons were raising slogans during the event.
The evidence listed by the agency include a report of JNU's high-level committee, statement of varsity's registrar Bhupinder Jutshi and the mobile phone recordings in which Kumar was seen arguing with him over cancellation of the programme.
Police said a video shot by a news channel and clips shot by students present at the spot show that Khalid, Bhattacharya and Ashutosh were raising slogans.
It added, however, that the slogans raised by Ashutosh were not anti-national, unlike those by Khalid and Bhattacharya.
Khalid raised slogans as shown in the videos and mobile clips, police said, citing a video which shows him saying, "The programme is against the occupation of Kashmir by the Indian State. I am making it very apparent that I am not from Kashmir but I believe that what is happening in Kashmir is Indian occupation of Kashmir...."
Regarding Rama Naga, whose name appears in column 12, the charge sheet said that he delivered speech with contents against the RSS.
On 36 others listed in column 2 of the charge sheet, including Ashutosh, Rama Naga, Banojyotsana, Shehla Rashid and Aparajitha Raja, police said that they were not seen raising anti-India slogans.
A case was registered on February 11, 2016 under sections 124A and 120B of the IPC against unidentified persons at Vasant Kunj (North) police station, following complaints from BJP lawmaker Maheish Girri and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
The event had taken place despite the university administration cancelling the permission, following a complaint from RSS student wing ABVP, which had termed it "anti-national".
(Business Television India (BTVI) is now on WhatsApp. To subscribe to the service, click on www.btvi.in/WhatsApp)