Uncertainty over prosecution sanction for JNU ‘sedition’ case

JNU student leaders had been chargesheeted in the case for allegedly raising anti-India slogans.

JNU student leaders had been chargesheeted in the case for allegedly raising anti-India slogans.   | Photo Credit: PTI

No file regarding it has been brought to the notice of any Minister, claims AAP

Uncertainty loomed over the grant of sanction to prosecute former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leaders and others in a 2016 sedition case, with the file pertaining to it pending with the Delhi government’s Law Department on Saturday.

With a Delhi court on Saturday refusing to take cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police on January 14 for lack of approval, a spokesperson for the Aam Aadmi Party government said “no file regarding the prosecution sanction in the JNU case has been brought to the notice of any Minister or put up before any Minister”.

Then JNU student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, as well as seven students who were from Kashmir, had been chargesheeted in the case for allegedly raising anti-India slogans during a protest on the JNU campus on February 9, 2016.

Govt. sanction required

After filing the charge sheet in the case on Monday, the police had sought the prosecution sanction from the State government on the same day, a senior Delhi police officer said. Since one of the charges against the accused is of sedition, according to the Criminal Procedure Code the government’s sanction is required.

“All the documents submitted in the court have also been given to the government. This happens in a lot of cases where the sanction is sought simultaneously and not prior to submitting the charge sheet. The court has given time till February 6. We’ll wait for the government’s decision,” the officer said.

According to officials of the Delhi Home and Law Departments, the file had been sent from the Home Department to the Law Department to seek its opinion on the matter. Whether or not the file would reach the Law Minister and then finally the Home Minister to take a call on the matter remained unclear, according to three officials.

While the elected government of Delhi and the Lieutenant-Governor had been fighting a legal battle over their respective powers, a Delhi High Court judgment on August 4, 2016, had said the elected government would decide matters of prosecution. After the Supreme Court’s judgment on the same case last year, files pertaining to such matters have been sent to the Home Minister and not the L-G, according to two officials.

One of the officials pointed out that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the alleged sedition case back in 2016. The inquiry had not found any evidence against Mr. Kumar and had declared some of the video footage of the alleged incident doctored. Since the Delhi Police chargesheet has relied on certain videos, the magisterial inquiry report could be brought up by the AAP dispensation if the file for prosecution sanction reaches it, the official said.

(With inputs from Hemani Bhandari)

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 12:03:53 AM |

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