Delhi HC nixes JNU move on 15 students
Holding that the principles of natural justice were not followed while taking disciplinary action against 15 students of JNU, including former students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, the Delhi High court on Thursday set aside the order imposing various punishments on them in connection with an event held on February 9, 2016. The event was organised against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
While setting aside the order of the Disciplinary Committee of the varsity, Justice V Kameswar Rao said that the students, which also included Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, were given limited time to inspect the records based on which the actions were taken against them.
The court, while allowing the petition, remanded the matter back to the Appellate Authority, i.e the varsity’s Vice Chancellor, directing that the students shall be given two days to inspect the records and thereafter will be given one week to file an appeal against the penalties imposed on them.
“..... the matter is remanded back to the Appellate Authority with a direction to grant an opportunity of inspection to the petitioner, the record of the High Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) for two continuous days during office hours only by notifying the date and time to the petitioner for the same and upon such inspection, they shall have one week time to file a Supplementary Appeal ........ ,”
In a 58-page judgement, the court said that following this, the Appellate Authority shall hear each of the students and subsequently, after considering the appeals filed by them, “pass a reasoned order as expeditiously as possible”, preferably within six weeks from the date of hearing.
However, while granting this relief, the court cautioned the students and said that “they shall not indulge in any strike or dharna or agitation or coercive action in future in connection with the issue, till such time the proceedings between the parties attain finality”.
Welcoming the judgement, Khalid, said, “This is a victory of our amazing legal team. We will continue our fight against all these charges against us.”
The verdict comes on the pleas of 15 students who were punished for organising the event.
The punishment for students ranged from a fine of Rs 10,000 to rustication for one semester, besides a fine of Rs 20,000, respectively. Another student, Anirban Bhattacharya, was declared out of bounds of the university for five years. Against the order, the students had moved the court.