A day after lawyers attacked journalists and students while a Delhi BJP MLA assaulted a CPI member at the Patiala House Courts complex in the heart of the Capital, the Supreme Court listed for urgent hearing Wednesday a petition on the violence at the courts complex.
On Tuesday, senior lawyer Indira Jaising mentioned the petition before Chief Justice T S Thakur who agreed to have it listed for hearing Wednesday.
The petition filed by N D Jaiprakash, an alumnus of JNU who was injured in the attack, also sought directives to ensure the safety of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar — booked for sedition, Kanhaiya has to be produced in court at the end of his police custody.
The petition said the safety of journalists and lawyers too must be ensured and it must also be seen that nobody is denied access to justice. It sought a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi Police to take all preventive measures so that no violence takes place either inside the court room or within the court complex.
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On Tuesday, journalists marched from the Press Club of India to the Supreme Court and submitted a memorandum to the Registrar, seeking cancellation of licences of lawyers involved in the attack.
A separate delegation of journalists met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, seeking his intervention in ensuring “accountability of the Delhi Police who watched silently as the assault happened”.
As the role of Delhi Police came under attack from political parties and journalists who demanded the sacking of Commissioner B S Bassi, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju kicked up another row with his remark “was there a murder” on being asked why police had not acted against lawyers and others involved in the court attack. “There may be issues of scuffle,” but “was there a murder,” he told CNN-IBN.
The political divide on the JNU row also escalated sharply with the Congress alleging that there was a state of “undeclared emergency” in the country. “We will request the Supreme Court to ensure investigation by an independent agency into the (JNU) incident,” party leader Kapil Sibal told reporters.
The BJP hit back, accusing Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi of being the “principal misleader” of politics after he alleged that the youth of the country were being muzzled by the government.
BJP national spokesperson M J Akbar told reporters: “On the JNU incident, Rahul Gandhi had levelled some accusations against our party. They are baseless, wrong and ineffective. Instead of trying to be a leader, Rahul Gandhi has become a principal misleader of Indian politics. His remarks in Assam over arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar is proof of his willingness to twist the truth. Kanhaiya was arrested because of remarks and slogans which he raised which were anti-national.”
— With PTI