Student unions have a role in this, says judge

The Supreme Court on Friday took a stern view of growing criminality in student politics and considered letting a 23-year-old student, in custody for eight months, continue in jail as a deterrent and object lesson to the student community .

“We have been noticing this trend of criminality growing in colleges and educational institutions. The student unions have a role in this,” Justice J.S. Khehar said.

The case before the Bench, which included Justice C. Nagappan, pertains to an incident of campus violence between students owing allegiance to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Students’ Federation of India at Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla. The police had arrested 30 students on the basis of a statement of an injured student, including the bail applicant, Bhuvaneshwar.

Bail sought

Mr. Bhuvaneshwar had sought bail on the ground that he had to appear for his exams on June 19 and 21. He moved the Supreme Court after the Himachal Pradesh High Court dismissed his plea.

“Let them study in jail for some time,” a visibly stern Justice Khehar initially countered senior advocate M.N. Krishnamani during the hearing.

But Mr. Krishnamani pressed his case before the Bench, saying there was no weapon found on his client and the young man had already spent eight months in custody.

Stressing that bail is the norm and jail an exception, the application quoted from the apex court’s decision of Sanjay Chandra versus CBI, which says that “deprivation of liberty be considered a punishment” by itself.

Taking note of Mr. Bhuvaneshwar’s plight, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the application and posted the case for Monday.

Keywords: campus violence

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