HC directs JNU not to take coercive step against Umar Khalid till tomorrow

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today directed the Jawaharlal Nehru University not to take any coercive steps till tomorrow against its student Umar Khalid, who was rusticated and slapped with a fine of Rs 20,000 in connection with a 2016 incident of alleged anti-India slogans being raised at an event.

Justice Siddharth Mridul issued notice to JNU on a plea by Khalid challenging the penalty imposed on him by an appellate authority of the university on July 4 in connection with the incident.

The court said the matter be listed tomorrow along with another plea filed by JNU’s former students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, on whom Rs 10,000 fine has been imposed by the appellate authority.

During the hearing, Khalid’s counsel said the urgency was that two weeks time was given by the authorities to pay the fine amount.

JNU’s counsel said Khalid has been rusticated for one semester starting from July 23.
The court said there cannot be any urgency as far as depositing of fine was concerned and added, “in the meantime, JNU shall not take any coercive steps against the petitioner (Khalid)”.

The court had yesterday directed the varsity not to take any coercive step against Kumar, who has also challenged the penalty.

Both of them have sought direction to quash the office order of July 4 passed by the JNU through the chief proctor.

Kumar has alleged in the plea that there were serious lapses towards observing the principles of natural justice and violation of the high court’s earlier order.
On February 9, 2016, a poetry event was held at JNU in connection with the third anniversary of Afzal Guru’s hanging for his role in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.
A high-level panel of JNU had in 2016 recommended a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kumar. It also suggested that Khalid be rusticated in connection with the incident. Besides, financial penalty was imposed on 13 other students for violation of disciplinary norms.
The students had then moved the high court, which had on October 12 last year directed the university to place the matter before an appellate authority to review the panel’s decision.
On July 5, the university stated that the appellate authority had upheld the decision against Khalid and Kumar, and in some cases, the penalty had been reduced.
Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, arrested on charges of sedition in connection with the 2016 controversial event, are out on bail.

HC directs JNU not to take any coercive step against Kanhaiya till July 20

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today directed Jawaharlal Nehru University not to take any coercive step on a fine imposed against its former students union president Kanhaiya Kumar till July 20.

A Rs 10,000 fine was imposed on Kumar by an appellate authority of the university in connection with a 2016 incident in which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised at an event relating to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging.

Justice Rekha Palli, in an oral order, asked the university not to take any coercive action as far as depositing the fine is concerned.
The matter came up before Justice Palli as the concerned judge was on leave.
The judge said she has not read the file and the matter should be listed before the regular bench on July 20.
Senior advocate Rebecca John and advocate Tarannum Cheema, appearing for Kumar, said the urgency was that he ceases to be a student of the university and the last date to deposit the fine is today.
Former JNU students union (JNUSU) president Kumar had moved the Delhi High Court yesterday against the fine imposed on him.
On February 9, 2016, a poetry event was held at JNU in connection with the third anniversary of Guru’s hanging for his role in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.

A high-level panel of JNU had in 2016 recommended a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kumar.
It also recommended that another student, Umar Khalid, be rusticated in connection with the incident. Besides, financial penalty was imposed 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 July 5, the university had revealed that the appellate authority upheld the decision against Khalid and Kumar and in some cases the penalty has been reduced.
Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, arrested in February 2016 on charges of sedition in connection with the controversial event, are out on bail.

Delhi High Court directs male JNU professor not to take charge of women hostels

The Delhi HC on Thursday directed a professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), accused of sexually harassing women students, should not take charge as warden of any hostel in the university campus which houses women.

While also directing the professor not to interact with the students, the court also questioned the varsity over the absence of women members in a fact-finding committee, set up by it to probe his alleged misconduct.

It passed the direction after it was informed by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) counsel that Prof Atul Kumar Johri had resigned from administrative work and was no more the warden of any hostel or member of any committee.

The court said the university will consider the advisability of sending Johri on leave and this decision can be taken by the varsity after the fact-finding committee, set up by JNU, gives its findings.

“In my view, it is also in the interest of the professor to reduce the chance of interaction with the complainants or potentional witnesses,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said.

“These directions are made on the stand taken by JNU’s counsel to provide a safe working environment to the petitioner students,” the court said and asked the professor not to visit laboratory no. 409 of the Department of Life Sciences where the students work.

The court was hearing a petition filed by several women students seeking suspension of the professor, against whom eight FIRs have been lodged alleging sexual harassment, and to restrain him from entering the campus. The plea has sought the provision of a safe working environment to the students.

The court noted that the fact finding committee, set up by the varsity to enquire into the aspect of alleged misconduct by the professor, comprised of two male professors.

It asked the JNU’s advocate Ginni Rautray to advise the vice chancellor (VC) to re-constitute the panel by including a female professor before whom the women students could depose comfortably.

“They have put two male professors in the fact finding committee. Why not any female professor? How will the students answer to a male member properly. A woman member can ask questions in a better manner as the allegations pertain to sexual harassment,” it said.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for women students, said 79 more students have given a letter to the police that they do not feel safe and were living in a fearful atmosphere as the professor continued to visit the Department of Life Sciences.

Reading out the details given by the students in the FIRs in the court, she said the systematic nature and pattern of sexual harassment was visible through the complaints of the students. When the matter was reported by any of the students to the university authorities, they were not given due attention and cognisance was not taken of these complaints.

The counsel for the professor claimed that the FIRs against him were motivated and all the complaints were “stereotyped”. The complaints had started after he sent an email to some students warning them against their irregular and poor attendance pattern, he alleged.

At the outset, the judge asked the varsity about the status of the issue and what the VC has done after the court’s April 25 order.

“What JNU intends to do from now onwards? Did the VC manage to see the statements of women students recorded before a magistrate under section 164 CrPC,” the court said.

The varsity’s counsel said the VC has seen the statements of the students and a fact finding committee has been set up which is expected to conclude the enquiry in three months.

She said the professor has resigned from all official postions and has been adviced not to go to the laboratory or the department.

The counsel said supervisors of some women students pursuing Ph.D, have been changed and alternative arrangements were being made for those for whom suitable supervisors have not yet been found.

When the court enquired whether Johri will still be evaluating the work of these Ph.D students, the university’s counsel replied in negative.

Even the professor’s counsel said he does not wish to continue or touch their work now, saying if the evaluation turned out to be against them, they could again level some allegations against him.

On being asked by the court whether the professor was willing to move out of the campus and reside somewhere else, his counsel refused and said he cannot move out as his “prestige was at stake” and he has “three daughters”.

When the judge asked: “You will not volunteer,” Johri’s counsel said, “No I will not.”

His counsel said he was served with the notice yesterday and has sought time to file his response on the petition seeking his suspension.

Advocate Satyakam, appearing for the Delhi Police, told the court that the investigation was going on and they have filed a status report. A fresh one would be submitted before the next date of hearing on May 23.

The court had on April 25, directed the JNU to treat the representations of women students as complaints and initiate a probe against the professor on charges of sexual harassment, while questioning the varsity for not taking any steps in the matter.

Students, professors and women rights organisations have been demanding his arrest, after several students had accused him of sexual harassment.

Johri had claimed before the trial court in his bail plea that in compliance with certain UGC guidelines regarding compulsory attendance and leave pattern, he had sent an e-mail on February 27 to certain students, including a complainant student, warning them against their irregular attendance pattern.

He had said the allegations levelled by the woman pertained to 2013-14 but the FIR was registered in 2018.

Delhi HC forms temporary ICC in JNU to look into sexual harassment

Delhi HC forms temporary ICC in JNU to look into sexual harassment
Delhi HC forms temporary ICC in JNU to look into sexual harassment

The Delhi High Court today formed a temporary Internal Complaint Committee (TICC) in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to proceed with 31 pending complaints of sexual harassment.

The court’s direction came on a plea filed by a group of teachers and students of JNU opposing the office order disbanding the Gender Sensitisation Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) committee and replacing it by an ICC.

They also opposed a registrar’s circular putting on hold the election of students’ representatives to the dissolved body.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Pratibha Singh said the three-member TICC will consist of one member each of the present ICC and erstwhile GSCASH and the third member would be nominated by them from an NGO or an association committed to the cause of women.

While nominating the third member, a list of NGOs and associations, prepared by the GSCASH or JNU administration, would be taken into consideration, the bench said.

It added that the directions were passed to ensure there is no tampering of records and breach of confidentiality.

The bench listed the matter for February 22, next year for final hearing and disposal of the petition challenging the varsity administration’s decision on disbanding the GSCASH and forming the ICC instead.

During the hearing, advocate Ginny J Rautray, appearing for JNU, handed over to the bench the list of pending matters by suppressing the names of victims, accused and witnesses and said there are 31 pending complaints which were filed between January 5 last year to July 27 this year.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for petitioner teachers and students, argued that the composition of ICC is in dispute and the complainants have confidence in GSCASH and not in ICC.

She claimed that the complainants have written to GSCASH members that they do not wish to pursue the complaints if this panel does not continue.

To this, the bench said the complainants do not have a choice in the matter and a complainant has the right to seek recusal of a member of the committee but with a valid reason.

It said these 31 cases should not be stalled as the issue relating to constitutional validity of the concerned UGC regulations is pending consideration.

The bench modified the stay order regarding the pending cases and formed the three-member temporary ICC to deal with these 31 matters.

It said that the records of these pending cases be made available to the temporary ICC and in case the two members of TICC do not reach any consensus in nominating the third member, they shall approach the court.

The court had earlier asked the JNU to maintain status quo on the sealing of the office of GSCASH committee which was superseded by the ICC.

The JNU administration had in its 269th Executive Council meeting held on September 18 ordered the dissolution of the independent body GSCASH.

As an interim relief, the petitioners had sought a stay on the operation of the order to disband GSCASH and a direction to JNU to preserve all records of GSCASH from 1999 till date in consultation with GSCASH.

The petition was filed by three teachers and three students Prof Madhu Sahni, Prof Rajat Dutta, Prof Hemant Adlakha, Ritika Kar, Rituraj Sharma and Sonam Goyal.

( Source – PTI )

Najeeb case: Court dismisses CBI plea for lie-detection test

Najeeb case: Court dismisses CBI plea for lie-detection test
Najeeb case: Court dismisses CBI plea for lie-detection test

A Delhi court today dismissed a CBI plea seeking to conduct lie-detection test on nine JNU students as part of its probe into the mysterious disappearance of another student, Najeeb Ahmad.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal dismissed the plea noting that the nine students were “opposing the application of the polygraph test filed by the investigating officer (IO) to the extent that they are praying for its dismissal which pre-supposes the lack of consent for polygraph test.”

“It means that these persons are not willing to go for the polygraph test. Since a polygraph test cannot be done without the consent of the person whose polygraph test has to be done, this application thereof cannot be allowed at this stage.

“Further, there is no requirement of calling these persons in the court for expressly recording their denial or consent as their reply of the application of the investigation officer (IO) virtually amounts to same,” the court said.

It also said since the application seeking to conduct the test was moved by the IO and not by any of the nine suspect students, it “cannot be outrightly allowed”.

However, the court said the suspect students “can at any time opt to volunteer for the polygraph test before the CBI”.

In its application, the CBI had sought to conduct the test of nine JNU students as part of its probe into the disappearance of Najeeb, claiming there were certain allegations against them.

The application was opposed by the students’ advocate Viswa Bhushan Arya who claimed that the agency did not follow various guidelines while moving the application.

Najeeb, a first-year MSc Biotechnology student, has been missing from the Mahi Mandavi hostel in JNU since October 16, 2016 after a scuffle allegedly with ABVP activists. The RSS students wing has denied any involvement in his disappearance.

( Source – PTI )

Najeeb case: Court to decide CBI’s plea for lie-detection test on Nov 21

Najeeb case: Court to decide CBI's plea for lie-detection test on Nov 21
Najeeb case: Court to decide CBI’s plea for lie-detection test on Nov 21

A Delhi court will on November 21 decide a CBI plea to conduct a “lie-detection” test on nine JNU students as part of its probe into the mysterious disappearance of Najeeb Ahmad.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal reserved its order after hearing arguments of the CBI and lawyers appearing for the suspect students.

Najeeb, a first-year MSc Biotechnology student, has been missing from the Mahi Mandavi hostel in JNU since October 16, 2016 after a scuffle allegedly with ABVP activists.

The RSS students wing has denied any involvement in his disappearance.

( Source – PTI )

CBI faces HC flak in missing JNU student case

CBI faces HC flak in missing JNU student case
CBI faces HC flak in missing JNU student case

CBI today faced flak from the Delhi High Court for its “complete lack of interest” and not showing any result in its probe into the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, five months after being handed over the investigation.

Najeeb (27), a student of M.Sc Biotechnology, had gone missing from the Mahi-Mandvi hostel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on October 15 last year following a scuffle with some other students, allegedly affiliated to the Sangh Parivar student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the previous night.

A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chander Shekhar said during arguments, it was “very unhappy” with CBI after contradictions appeared in what was orally submitted in the court and what it has indicated in its status report.

The contradictions appeared on the issue of analysis of the calls and messages of the suspect students in the case.

When the court was told that the status report was prepared by an Inspector in CBI, the bench said as per its May 16 order, transferring probe to the agency, an officer of rank not less than DIG has to supervise the investigation.

“What sort of supervision is this? If this supervision by the DIG, then what would happen if there is no supervision? Does the DIG read what the Inspector has said in the report? He probably does not get time to read reports there (in office). Let him come here and read it then” the court said.

The bench further said that “there is nothing on the status report (by CBI). There was more in the Delhi Police reports. We are saying there is complete lack of interest (by CBI). There is no result either way. No result even on paper.”

The bench said the CBI was “inviting these observations” by its own conduct and gave it time till November 14 to file a report stating what it has found after analysing the call data records of the nine students suspected of being behind Najeeb’s disappearance.

The scathing remarks by the bench came after CBI in its report said the calls and messages of the suspects were “being analysed”, while in its oral submission it claimed that the call data records have already been analysed.

“Then why have you not said what you found in your analysis,” an angry bench asked the CBI and warned that it would direct its DIG, who was to supervise the probe, to be present in court.

The CBI was also directed to move an application in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) for an early hearing of its plea, which has been adjourned to January 24, 2018, for seeking consent of the suspect students for a polygraph test.

The bench also gave directions to the CMM not to give such long dates in pleas for polygraph tests, especially in such a matter where there is urgency, saying it would defeat the purpose.

The court told CBI that even family members of the missing student can undergo polygraph, not just the suspects.

After over a month had passed since Najeeb went missing, his mother had moved the High Court on November 25 last year, seeking directions to the police to trace her son.

The high court had immediately directed the Delhi Police to “explore all angles” and “cut across political barriers” to trace the young man, saying no one could just vanish from the heart of the national capital.

However, as the police were clueless about Najeeb’s whereabouts even after seven months since he went missing, the probe was handed over to CBI on May 16, 2017.

There months later in August when CBI failed to file a fresh progress report in the case, the high court had rebuked it, saying the probe was not transferred to the agency “for fun”.

On September 6, the court again directed the CBI to take steps to trace Najeeb.

( Source – PTI )

Lack of interest by CBI in Najeeb case: Delhi HC

Lack of interest by CBI in Najeeb case: Delhi HC
Lack of interest by CBI in Najeeb case: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court today said “there is complete lack of interest” on the CBI’s part in probing the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed.

The court had handed over the probe to the CBI five months ago.

A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chander Shekhar observed that there was “no result either ways. No result even on paper”.

The strong remarks by the bench came after contradictions appeared in what the CBI said in court and what it had indicated in its status report on the issue of analysis of the calls and messages of the suspect students in the case.

The court was hearing the plea of the missing student’s mother, Fatima Nafees, seeking directions from the court to trace her son who disappeared from Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) Mahi-Mandvi hostel on October 15 last year.

( Source – PTI )

Year after Najeeb went missing from JNU, CBI still clueless

Year after Najeeb went missing from JNU, CBI still clueless
Year after Najeeb went missing from JNU, CBI still clueless

Exactly a year after JNU student Najeeb Ahmed went missing from the campus following a scuffle with some other students, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had taken over the probe into the case from the city police, remains clueless.

The high court had first gone after the Delhi Police to solve the mysterious disappearance of Najeeb and since it was not satisfied with the progress made by the city police in the case, it transferred it to the central probe agency on May 16 this year.

Najeeb (27), a student of M.Sc Biotechnology, went missing from the Mahi-Mandvi hostel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on October 15, 2016. His family members are still running from pillar to post to trace him.

Najeeb had an altercation with several students, allegedly affiliated to the BJP’s student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), according to his friends and family.

After over a month had passed since Najeeb went missing, his mother, Fatima Nafees, moved the Delhi High Court, seeking directions to the police to trace her son.

The high court had immediately directed the Delhi Police to “explore all angles” and “cut across political barriers” to trace the young man, saying no one could just vanish from the heart of the national capital.

However, as the police were clueless about Najeeb’s whereabouts even after two months since he went missing, it had to face the ire of the court, which asked it to scan the entire JNU campus, including hostels, classrooms and rooftops, with the help of sniffer dogs.

However, the police failed to sniff out any lead even after pressing 600 personnel and several sniffer dogs into service.

This prompted the high court to suggest other methods such as lie detector tests of the nine students suspected to be behind Najeeb’s disappearance as they had allegedly beaten him up before he went missing.

Though the police sent notices to the nine students, asking them to appear for a polygraph (lie detector) test, they ignored the same and subsequently, moved the trial court, challenging the step taken by the investigating agency.

Even as the nine students were opposing the lie detector test, Najeeb’s family alleged in the court that they were being harassed by the Delhi Police, which was conducting pre- dawn searches at their house in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh.

Dissatisfied with the lack of progress in the investigation, the family later demanded that the probe be handed over to some other agency.

In March this year, even the high court admitted that it was “foxed” by the lack of information on the missing student’s whereabouts and demanded an answer from the police “one way or the other” on Najeeb’s fate, saying that as far as the probe was concerned, the only thing happening was paperwork.

While the high court was monitoring the investigation, a magisterial court, on March 30, rejected the nine suspected students’ plea against the police notice asking them to appear for a polygraph test.

A few days later, the decision of the magisterial court was stayed by a sessions court, which subsequently quashed it.

Continuing with its probe, the police filed a chargesheet against a man, who was arrested for allegedly making a ransom call to Najeeb’s relatives, demanding Rs 20 lakh for his release.

However, his family kept urging the high court to transfer the probe to some other agency and finally on May 16, it was handed over to the CBI.

Two months later, on July 17, the probe agency sought more time from the court to investigate the case.

Nearly a month later, when the CBI failed to file a fresh progress report in the case, the high court rebuked it, saying the probe was not transferred to the agency “for fun”.

On September 6, the court again directed the CBI to take steps to trace Najeeb.

On the same day, the agency filed a status report on the investigation in a sealed envelope.

The CBI counsel informed the court that the agency had examined 26 people, including JNU officials, staff, Najeeb’s friends, colleagues and those who had issues with him, during its investigation.

The agency also told the court that the matter was widely publicised in 12 cities and that several mortuaries were also being monitored.

Apart from that, last one year’s railway records of passengers of the same name and age as that of the missing student had been called for, it told the high court, which is slated to hear the matter tomorrow (October 16).

( Source – PTI )

JNU moves Delhi HC to restrain students from holding demonstration

JNU moves Delhi HC to restrain students from holding demonstration
JNU moves Delhi HC to restrain students from holding demonstration

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration has moved the Delhi High Court seeking direction to restrain its students from staging any demonstration within 100 metres of the administrative block.

The plea by the JNU administration was filed before Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, who had recently asked the students to ensure the decibel levels were kept low during protests so that there was no disturbance in the functioning of the university.

The court had on March 17 modified its order restraining the students from protesting within 100 metres of the block and had directed that the protest, if any, should be peaceful and not block lanes or roads leading to the administrative block.

Alleging that the students of JNU have disobeyed the court’s direction, despite assurance given by them before it, the plea has sought action against the ones who have violated the order.

The petition by JNU’s counsel Monika Arora has sought “immediate indulgence of the court” while highlighting that on March 23 the students had staged a dharna, burnt the effigy of the Vice Chancellor right outside the administrative block and blocked entry and exit of university officials.

While seeking direction to the police to provide adequate security as and when requested, the plea sought direction that “no dharna/demonstration/street plays etc. will be allowed with or without noise making instruments within 100 metres of the administrative block” of the JNU.

The court has fixed the plea for hearing on April 12.

The court’s earlier direction were issued on JNU’s plea against the blocking of its administrative department by the agitating students.

Earlier, during hearing of the plea, the court had suggested the Jawaharlal University Students Union (JNUSU) President and the administration to have a meaningful dialogue among them, which may lead to resolution of several problems.

( Source – PTI )