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.

Did not block access to admin block : JNU Students Union to Delhi High Court

The office bearers of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) have told the Delhi High Court that they have not violated its order on holding protests in the varsity as they did not block access to the administrative block.

They also submitted before the high court that its August last year direction to not hold protests within 100 metres of the admin block should not be viewed technically as the spirit of the direction was to prevent obstruction of any access to the building.

The submissions were made before Justice V K Rao who is hearing a plea moved by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) seeking contempt action against the JNUSU office bearers for holding protests within 100 metres of the administrative block.

The varsity in its petition, moved through central government standing counsel Monika Arora and advocate Kushal Sharma, has contended that the office bearers have violated the high court’s August 9, 2017 direction.

The varsity in its plea has also claimed that the protesting students had obstructed access to the administrative block of JNU.

The arguments in the matter remained inconclusive and are expected to continue tomorrow.

The JNUSU office bearers also told the court that other student bodies and associations as well as a teachers group have also held protests within 100 metres of the administrative block, but no action has been taken against them.

Therefore, the 100-metre restriction should not be viewed technically, their lawyer told the court.

The JNUSU office bearers had earlier told the court that the main reason behind the protests in the varsity was not holding of academic council meetings.

The court had on February 16, in an interim order, directed the JNU students not to obstruct the vice chancellor and other staff from entering the administrative block to carry out their work.

The interim order was passed on JNU’s plea that the protests near the administrative block was hampering its day-to-day functioning, including the disbursal salaries in connection with the Seventh Pay Commission.

The students had on February 15 allegedly blockaded the administration block demanding a meeting with the vice chancellor on the issue of compulsory attendance and stopped the two rectors from leaving the building.

The court had in its August 2017 order also said that the university was at liberty to request police assistance to maintain law and order in the campus.

It had, however, made it clear that the order “should not preclude” the students from peacefully protesting at the Sabarmati lawn in the campus away from the administrative block.

The August 2017 order had come during the hearing of the JNU administration’s petition against the blocking of its administrative block by agitating students.

The varsity had moved the high court when the students were protesting against the JNU’s admission policy based on a University Grants Commission notification slashing the seats for MPhil and PhD courses.