NEW DELHI: Fearing a threat to his life in jail, JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking bail.
Kumar’s bail petition was mentioned by senior advocate Soli Sorabjee and Raju Ramachandran while they sought an early hearing on grounds that he had been manhandled on Wednesday while being produced at court. A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre agreed to hear the plea on Friday.
The 10-page bail plea said, “The Petitioner is an innocent person, and his presumption of innocence is sacrosanct. However, the mob at the Court complex was ready to lynch the Petitioner as if the Petitioner is guilty, which erodes a citizen’s faith in the justice delivery mechanism established under the laws by our Constitution.”
Kumar had been arrested by Delhi Police on sedition charges and remanded to judicial custody till March 2.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-appointed panel of senior lawyers, who were directed to rush to Patiala House courts to report on violence Wednesday, submitted its report to the Court on Thursday. The team comprised of senior lawyers Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, Dushyant Dave, A D N Rao, Ajit K Sinha and Harin Raval. During the hearing, Delhi Police counsel Ajit K Sinha, who was part of the team, said he had been asked by Raval to sign the report but had declined to do so till he had fully read it.
Dhawan told the media outside the court, “I have no difficulty in my mind, there is police collusion. As we went inside, we were told that somebody who was not allowed by the Supreme Court to enter the court, that person entered and went out. Registrar General... said ‘please stop that man, please arrest him’. There were eight-10 policemen but they didn’t arrest him. If this is not collusion, I don’t know what is.”
The bench was also given the report of the Registrar General of the Delhi HC and the account of Wednesday’s proceedings in the courtroom of the Metropolitan Magistrate before whom Kumar had been produced.
Thousands of students and scholars from JNU and Delhi University as well as members of civil society held a protest march in the national capital. Several held roses and raised them in the air in unison at the start of the march. The crowd included members from various political youth outfits and student bodies.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police arrested BJP MLA OP Sharma for assaulting CPI leader Ameeque Jamei at the Patiala House court. He was later released on bail.
Former DU lecturer SAR Geelani was sent to 15 days of judicial custody. Geelani had been arrested on sedition charges with others early Tuesday morning. According to police, Geelani had given them names of four others who had raised ‘anti-India slogans’ at the Press Club event.
Sources claimed Umar Khalid, a member of the Delhi Students Union which organised the event, is the son of a former chief of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), SQR Ilyasi. SIMI was founded in 1977 and last banned in 2008.
GOI won’t withdraw sedition charges
The Centre has decided not to withdraw the sedition charges slapped against JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. A senior official in the government said evidence and facts will be placed before the court although police will not oppose his bail plea. MoS Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said, “Bail is the right of person as per law, and the Court will decide accordingly.” However, he maintained, “There is no question of reviewing sedition charges against Kanhaiya, and the police acted after gathering enough proof.”