SC slams police over attack on Kanhaiya inside Patiala house courtroom
The Supreme Court today orally observed that the demand for an independent enquiry into allegation that JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar accused of sedition was attacked inside the patiala house courtroom on February 17 was “justified”.
The contentious issue is part of the petition filed by noted lawyer Kamini Jaiswal and being argued by lawyer Prashant Bhushan who has urged the court to punish the lawyers involved in the violence at Patiala House complex and also initiate contempt proceedings against them.
“How could unauthorized persons enter a courtroom? They (Jaiswal and Bhushan) are justified in asking for an independent probe”, said Justice Jasti Chelameswar.
The observations are significant as the bench is already seized of the petition seeking appointment of a special investigation team to probe the incidents at Patiala house courts on February 16 and 17.
Significantly, the observations from the bench came after it elaborately perused reports filed by the SC-appointed panel, Registrar General of the Delhi High Court and the Delhi Police.
According to the transcript of a 20-minute video of the JNU student leader’s deposition before a Supreme Court-appointed panel, Kanhaiya Kumar was kicked and punched by men in lawyers’ robes who came prepared, with two of the attackers even entering the court room,
Transcripts of the panel’s inquiries on February 17, the day of the assault, also show a senior Delhi Police officer first denying that any attack had taken place inside the court and later passing the buck to an “escort party” of policemen from “other district”.
One of the two attackers inside the court even challenged the policemen, when he was identified by Kumar, and walked out as they looked on, according to the transcripts.
The court has already issued notices to three lawyers Vikram Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma shown in a TV sting bragging about bashing up JNU case accused Kanhaiya Kumar and others on a petition filed by lawyer Kamini Jaiswal seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against them.
The lawyers have been accused of interfering with the administration of justice and for willfully violating the orders of the Supreme Court dated 17th of February.
In the sting aired by TV channels the lawyers are purportedly seen admitting beating up JNU students’ union President Kanhaiya Kumar for around three hours when he was in police custody. Based on sting report and the report of the National Human Rights Commission, this is not an ordinary case”, Bhushan told the bench.
The reports of the SC appointed panel of lawyers, High Court Registrar General and the Delhi Police has also been attached to the petition
In the sting operation aired by TV channels, the two lawyers claim Kanhaiya wet his pants during the beating. “We thrashed him for three hours and we also forced him to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. He later raised the slogan with us and we allowed him go,” Chauhan is seen saying. Singh also said they would beat him up again. “I will get a petrol bomb no matter what case is filed against me. I will not leave him even if I am charged with murder… I want to go to the same jail and will thrash him in his cell… I will not give my bail bond. I will go to prison for one or two days,” Singh claims in the tv video.
Singh added, “We thrashed all journalists and JNU professors. If you live in the country, you will have to talk about the country. Police was also supporting us fully and they told us they were in uniform, that’s why they (too) were not thrashing him.”
The petition has also has the NHRC report attached to it. It is to be noted that NHRC had in its inquiry report said that Kanhaiya was subjected to “psychological pressure” during questioning
The NHRC report also pulled up Delhi Police for “serious dereliction of duty” and said it “did not do anything to prevent the assault” on Kumar inside the Patiala House Court premises or “apprehend the attackers”.