The Supreme Court on Friday transferred the bail plea of jailed Jawaharlal Nehru University students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar to the Delhi High Court saying that if they heard the petition, it would send out the wrong message about the capabilities of other courts, according to reports.
The apex court acknowledged that the situation at the Patiala House court was not conducive to a hearing and asked the High Court to expeditiously hear the bail plea of Kumar who was arrested for attending an event on the campus on 9 Feb to protest the hanging of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru.
The court also asked the Centre and the Delhi Police to ensure proper security for counsel of the student union leader on the HC premises, PTI reported. The Delhi police did not oppose Kumar's bail plea.
"We will not ask them to go to Patiala House Court, but to Delhi HC instead," the court said, rejecting the plea that extraordinary circumstances led Kumar's lawyers to move the court for bail directly. The SC said it will create a situation where accused from across the country will approach it. It allowed Kumar's lawyer to amend the petition and entry for counsel for all parties at the HC court room. Entry of others, including journalists, would be regulated by Registrar General of HC, the court said.
"You are leading a dangerous proposition. If this court will entertain it, it will become a precedent which will be available to all the accused in the country. Wherever there will be sensitive cases involving political persons or prominent persons or others...you know the atmosphere in the court. So in every case if it is said that Supreme Court is only the court, it would be a dangerous precedent," a bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre said.
"Remember, this is not the only case of this type," it said.
While transferring the bail plea of Kanhaiya, who has been charged with sedition, the bench took an assurance from Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that in the "prevailing extraordinary situation" pertaining to this matter, the Government of India and the Delhi Police Commissioner would provide adequate safety and security to the accused and a stream of lawyers who will be appearing in the High Court.
The bench also said that the counsel for all the parties would be given preference while entering into the court room at the High Court and the Registrar General would be responsible for limiting number of people to be allowed to enter inside. The bench which asked the High Court to expeditiously deal with the matter.
Senior counsel and former Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee appeared for Kumar in the apex court which had earlier said that "extraordinary situations prevailed". His bail petition was mentioned before a bench of justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre by Sorabjee and Raju Ramachandran who wanted it to be heard yesterday itself.
However, when the bench suggested that they would consider it on Friday, they agreed. Kumar said in his petition that there was no need for his custodial interrogation as he has already been sent to judicial custody. In the petition, filed through advocate Anindita Pujari, the accused claimed his innocence and said no purpose would be served by keeping him in the jail as the police have been finding it difficult to produce him even in the court.
There is an extraordinary situation prevailing over there.
Kumar submitted that there is a threat to his life and there was a need for the apex court to intervene for safeguarding his life and limb.
(JNU's student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar (C) is escorted by police into Patiala Court for a hearing in New Delhi)
“There is an extraordinary situation prevailing over there, so we are going to hear it,” the bench said.
"The atmosphere at Patiala House Courts complex is not conducive, not for hearing, much less for trial,” Kanhaiya said.
Kumar's mother Meena Devi, an Anganwadi worker who earns Rs 3,500 per month, slammed the attack on her son in the Patiala House Court premises.
I am not a terrorist's mother. I know it will be proved some day but until then if my son dies in custody, who will be responsible for it?
"I am not a terrorist's mother. I know it will be proved some day but until then if my son dies in custody, who will be responsible for it? They can call Kanhaiya a threat to nation but cannot protect him from other threats?," his mother Meena Devi told PTI from Bihar over phone.
"What if he had died that day and it was proved later that he was innocent? Will the government give me my son back then? They acted so fast on complaint against my son but they haven't arrested anyone for the attack on Kanhaiya in court," she added.
Her 65-year-old husband, who was a farmer, has been bedridden for seven years due to paralysis.
Kumar's father refused to accept security at his home and alleged that his son was "punished" by BJP and RSS for defeating their candidate in the students' union elections.
"We politely urged the policemen to go back as we do not require security. The entire village is with us," Kumar's father Jaishankar Singh told PTI.
Kanhaiya was arrested Friday last in connection with a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy registered over the holding of an event at JNU against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. During the event, anti-India slogans were alleged to have been raised. He was attacked in the court premises before he was remanded in judicial custody by a Metropolitan court till March 2.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police registered two fresh cases against "unknown persons" who carried out brazen attacks on journalists, a lawyer and Kumar at the Patiala House Court complex.
While the first FIR, registered at Tilak Marg police station, is based on a complaint filed by the lawyer, who was thrashed by a group of men dressed in black robes, the second case is to probe assault on Kumar, who was produced in the court following end of his police custody, a senior police official said.
"Both the cases were registered against unknown persons late last night under relevant IPC sections. While the first one is based on a complaint received by the police, the second case was registered after taking suo motu cognizance of the matter," the senior official said.
(Inputs from PTI)
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