The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted “one last opportunity” to the Centre to submit its response to a plea seeking transfer from Delhi Police to an independent agency for the investigation into the cases related to violence on Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) campus in December 2019 during the students’ protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
A Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh asked the Centre to file within a week its reply to the application seeking the setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to inquire into alleged police atrocities during the protests.
The High Court has posted the matter for the next hearing on December 13. The court was hearing a batch of petitions moved by lawyers, students of JMI and residents of Okhla in south Delhi against “erring police officers”.
Delhi Police had earlier defended its decision to enter the campus of the university during the violence that erupted in December 2019, saying it was done to control the “aggravated form of unlawful assembly”.
During the hearing, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for one of the petitioners, Nabila Hasan, said at the time of the incident, the students were holding peaceful protests but police “attacked them mercilessly, fractured their bones and left one student blinded”. The petitioners said there was a need for an SIT that was independent of the police and the Central government.
The Bench noted that since the pleas were filed at the time when the incidents took place, some of the relief sought might have become infructuous. It said the only prayers which survive were related to monetary compensation to the injured students and a court-monitored committee headed by a retired judge to inquire into the violence.
On October 19, the Supreme Court had requested the High Court to “hear out early” the petitions concerning the incidents of violence on the campus, while noting that “these matters are pending before the High Court for some time now”.