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JNU campus violence: 3 JNU professors move HC with PIL to preserve data, CCTV footage, evidence

Security personnel keeping vigil at the main gate of JNU during a public meeting at JNU Campus against the violence against teachers and students.

Security personnel keeping vigil at the main gate of JNU during a public meeting at JNU Campus against the violence against teachers and students.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

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The petition also sought directions for preservation and retrieval of all material/ evidences available with WhatsApp INC., Google INC. and Apple INC.

Three JNU professors Friday approached the Delhi High Court seeking directions to preserve data, CCTV footage and other evidence relating to the January 5 violence on the varsity campus.

The petition also sought directions for preservation and retrieval of all material/ evidences available with WhatsApp INC., Google INC. and Apple INC. pertaining to relevant data of WhatsApp groups ‘Unity Against Left’ and ‘Friends of RSS’ including messages, pictures, videos and phone numbers of the members, in connection with the violence at JNU.

The petition has been listed for hearing before Justice Brijesh Sethi on January 13.

The petition, filed by Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood and Shukla Vinayak Sawant, seeks necessary directions to the Delhi Police Commissioner and Delhi government.

Filed through advocates Abhik Chimni, Maanav Kumar and Roshni Naamboodiry, it sought a direction to the Delhi Police to retrieve all CCTV footage of JNU campus.

On January 5, a mob of masked men stormed the campus and targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods by hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings.

Three FIRs have been registered at Vasant Kunj (north) police station in the incident.

The plea claimed it was evident that a significant amount of data, information, evidence and material pertaining to the said incident of violence, including persons with their registered phone numbers responsible for the same, was communicated through WhatsApp’s platform, and its data back-up is an important evidence in respect of the incidents of violence.

“In order to ensure that the relevant evidence may be preserved, JNU teachers association (JNUTA) has sent requests/ representations to respondent nos. 1 (Police Commissioner), 3 (WhatsApp) and 4 (Google), asking that all these materials be safely retrieved for investigation purposes.

“In these representations, JNUTA has cited relevant provisions of the respondent no.3’s Terms of Use, Information Technology Act, 2000, Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011 and other applicable laws. The petitioner no.2 has also sent similar request/representation to the respondent no.3,” the plea said.

However, the police has neither responded to such requests placed by one of the petitioners and JNUTA nor has it reached out to them, or other informants, despite clear and cogent material provided to the investigating agency along with the written representations, it claimed.

The plea said the petitioners apprehend that in the absence of a direction from the court or the police commissioner, the relevant evidence may not be properly preserved.

It claimed that as per the knowledge of the petitioners as well as news reports, the police has not yet retrieved CCTV footage, which is crucial evidence.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 1:02:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/jnu-campus-violence-3-jnu-professors-move-hc-with-pil-to-preserve-data-cctv-footage-evidence/article30536332.ece

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