NEW DELHI — A Delhi court Thursday rapped the AAP government for not granting the requisite sanction to prosecute former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in a 2016 sedition case, warning that it would proceed with the case even without the go-ahead.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat was informed by the investigating officer (IO) that the state government has not yet granted the required sanction to the Delhi Police to prosecute the accused.
To this, the judge said: “You (Delhi police) took three years (for filing charge sheet). Now they (Delhi government) will also take three years (for granting sanctions)... Whether sanction has been granted or not I will proceed with the case.”
The court had earlier also directed the police to ask the authorities concerned to expedite the process while granting it three weeks to procure the sanction needed to prosecute Kumar and other accused, including former JNU students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, in the case.
On 14 January, the police filed the charge sheet in the court against Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported seditious slogans raised on the campus during an event on February 9, 2016.
During the day’s hearing, the police told the court that Kumar had organised the 2016 event though permission was denied.
It further told the court that co-accused Bhattacharya and Khalid had raised anti-India slogans during the event marking the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru and Kanhaiya had supported them.
The court, which listed the matter for further hearing on 11 March, asked the police to provide it the video footage of the incident for its perusal.
The court had earlier questioned the police for filing a charge sheet against Kumar and others without procuring the sanctions.
“Why did you file (the charge sheet) without approval? You don’t have a legal department,” the court had said.
Police has also charged Khalid and Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during the event to mark the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru.
Earlier, the police had claimed before the court that Kumar had raised anti-India slogans in 2016 “to incite hatred and disaffection towards the government”.
It had cited statements of various witnesses in its charge sheet to state that Kumar was walking along with the protesters where a number of unidentified persons were raising slogans during the event.
The evidence listed by the agency include report of JNU’s high-level committee, statement of varsity’s registrar Bhupinder Zutshi and the mobile phone recordings in which Kumar was seen arguing with him over cancellation of the programme.
Police had said a video shot by a news channel and clips shot by students present at the spot show that Khalid, Bhattacharya and Ashutosh were raising slogans.
It added however that the slogans raised by Ashutosh were not anti-national, unlike those by Khalid and Bhattacharya.
Khalid raised slogans as shown in the videos and mobile clips, police said, citing a video which shows him saying, “The programme is against occupation of Kashmir by the Indian State. I am making it very apparent that I am not from Kashmir but I believe that what is happening in Kashmir is Indian occupation of Kashmir...”
Regarding Rama Naga, whose name appears in column 12, the charge sheet said that he delivered speech with contents against the RSS.
On 36 others listed in column 2 of the charge sheet, including Ashutosh, Rama Naga, Banojyotsana, Shehla Rashid and Aparajitha Raja, police said that they were not seen raising anti-India slogans.
A case was registered on February 11, 2016 under sections 124A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC against unidentified persons at Vasant Kunj (North) police station, following complaints from BJP lawmaker Maheish Girri and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
The event had taken place despite the university administration cancelling the permission, following a complaint from ABVP, which had termed it “anti-national”.