NEW DELHI: Supreme Court will tomorrow hear a plea complaining of inaction of police against those involved in thrashing journalists, students and teachers in a city court and seeking a fair trial "free from fear of violence and prejudice" for JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit agreed to give urgent hearing to the petition which was mentioned by senior advocate Indira Jaising, who said Kanhaiya Kumar's two days of extended police remand was expiring tomorrow and he will again be produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House court complex which had yesterday witnessed violence.
The petition filed by N D Jaiprakash, an alumnus of JNU who was hurt in the violence, alleged that police were a "mute spectator to this brazen display of violence and brute force being perpetrated on innocent persons" who had gathered in the Court premises.
"This petition merely seeks to assure safety of the accused, their relatives, friends, lawyers and journalists while discharging their legal as well as professional obligations," the plea said, adding that "the surcharged and vicious atmosphere" in the Court premises would come in the way of the fundamental right of the accused for a fair trial.
The petitioner urged the apex court that neccessary directions have to be passed on the Centre and Delhi Police as a congenial atmosphere was imperative for a fair and impartial judicial proceeding, which is a fundamental right of every person under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The petitioner has sought directions for the Ministry of Home Affairs and the police to ensure that the proceedings against Kanhaiya Kumar at the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Loveleen, is carried out in a manner which is not prejudicial to the fundamental rights of the persons.
Giving details of the violence in which JNU teachers, students and journalists, including some female mediapersons, were roughed up by advocates and a politician, the petition said there was a need to ensure that no physical harm or any form of intimidation or disturbance is caused to the accused or any person attending the court in connection with the proceedings.
It has been urged that proper and appropriate action is taken against any person who is obstructing the proceedings against Kanhaiya Kumar before the trial court in any manner.
The petitioner has sought the safeguarding of the CCTV footage in and around the Metropolitan Magistrate's court, which may be used as evidence in any further proceedings in the matter.
"It is submitted that violence in the court complex can never be permitted or countenanced. It is so serious a breach so as to tantamount to criminal contempt of court and denial of access to justice.
"The judicial functioning requires calm and tranquil atmosphere. Even surcharge atmosphere is considered not conducive to justice by that standard physical violence must be treated as grosses of contempt apart from various other offences," petitioner Jaiprakash said.
He said the issue involved in the instant case was protection of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and the immediate cause of approaching the apex court was the physical violence and intimidation faced by him and a large number of students, teachers and journalists while attending a judicial proceeding.
The petition said that police remained a "mute spectator" yesterday and there was need for direction to the cops to ensure the safety and security of persons inside the court premises during the trial of the JNUSU President.
"It is submitted that the Respondents (MHA and Delhi Police) are duty-bound to protect innocent citizens from acts of violence and vandalism in court premises," it said.
The plea said due to the "surcharged and vicious atmosphere in the court premises, it is not possible to even produce the accused" as violence broke out just before the court was to assemble at 2 pm yesterday.
Giving details, the petition said the violence initially broke out inside the court and thereafter spilled over in the adjacent areas of the court complex as people started running to save themselves from the brutality of lawyers and outsiders which included several politicians.
The plea said that yesterday's incident raised serious threat to life of the accused and the atmosphere was so surcharged that even women journalists were not spared and not permitted to discharge their journalistic duties and able to report the events as witnessed by them directly.
"More than a dozen journalists including women journalists suffered physical assault and sustained injuries; the mobile phones of journalists were snatched, broken or stolen to prevent them to able to report the violence," it added.
The petition said a surcharged atmosphere in the court room where there exists a threat of physical violence and threat of intimidation, to family and friends or other persons known to the person against whom a FIR has been filed, such as the Petitioner, violates the fundamental rights of such persons, in particular under Article 21.
It said officers of Delhi Police being present at the court should have avoided escalation of the violent situation which clearly impeded the proceeding and the safety of various persons present, including the Petitioner.
"It is submitted that a congenial atmosphere is imperative for a fair and impartial judicial proceeding, which is a fundamental right of every person under Article 21 of the Constitution." the petition said.