NEW DELHI: The 15 students who were found guilty by the administration of the Jawaharlal Nehru University for allegedly taking part in the ceremony to commemorate the death anniversary of terrorist Afzal Guru, have been given relief from all the disciplinary action recommendations, by the Delhi High court on Thursday.
After the huge nationwide controversy over viral videos in which scores of students including the former JNU Student Union (JNUSU) President Kanhaiya Kumar was allegedly seen raising anti-national slogans, the university formed a High Level Committee (HLC) to investigate the matter in 2016. The HLC found the 15 students guilty of raising slogans and recommended actions ranging from monetary penalties and putting students out of bounds.
These students also include former JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid, MP D Raja’s daughter Aparajitha Raja, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. The committee report found that a group of student were shouting slogans like “Pakistan zindabad” and “Bharat ki barbadi tak jung rahegi (The fight will continue till India is ruined)” at the event organised remembering Guru, convicted in the Parliament attacks. Acting on the complaint by BJP member of Parliament Mahesh Giri an FIR of sedition was registered in the case, the student were arrested but were later granted bail.
Justice V Kameswar Rao said JNU’s orders imposing varying punishments on the students was issued without following the principles of natural justice, as they were given limited time to inspect the records based on which the punitive actions were taken.
The court sent the matter back to the Vice Chancellor, to be decided afresh after giving two days to each student to inspect the records and one week to file an appeal against the penalties imposed on each of them. The VC M.Jagadesh Kumar will Aalso hear out each of the student and then "pass a reasoned order as expeditiously as possible" within six weeks, the court said in its judgment.
The court also stated that the students will also follow their earlier undertaking 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".
The verdict came on the pleas of the students, also including Khalid and Bhattacharya who had claimed that JNU did not give them due opportunity to defend themselves against the charge of indiscipline, as all of them were only given a few hours to inspect the records containing the allegations against them.