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JNU sedition case: Court asks govt when it will take sanction call

The court’s direction and observations were made after the counsel for the Delhi government, in pursuance to its March 30 direction, submitted a report that the matter is under consideration.

Written by Pritam Pal Singh | New Delhi | Published: April 4, 2019 2:24:47 am
JNU sedition case: Court asks govt when it will take sanction call Kanhaiya Kumar is one of the accused in the case

A Delhi court Wednesday directed the Delhi government to inform it by when it will decide on the issue of granting sanction to prosecute former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the 2016 JNU sedition case.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sehrawat, however, observed that the “sanction to prosecute must be decided within a time span, which is fairly necessary to do whatever is required to be done to ensure that trial may not be held back for too long”.

The court’s direction and observations were made after the counsel for the Delhi government, in pursuance to its March 30 direction, submitted a report that the matter is under consideration.

The counsel also filed a copy of the communication dated April 2, 2019, made by the Deputy Secretary (Home) to the Delhi government’s Director of Prosecution, and sought a month’s time on the issue. The court observed that the document handed to it does not specify the time frame within which the issue of sanction is likely to be decided.

“A considerable period has already lapsed since the chargesheet was filed and sanction applied for with the department concerned. Looking to the grave nature of offence in the chargesheet, certain reasonable time limit must be set out for decision in the matter of sanction of prosecution… The decision with respect to grant and refusal of sanction is an administrative act, which must be performed within reasonable time,” the judge said.

The judge also referred to the Supreme Court’s ruling, including a case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against Dr Manmohan Singh, which had held that denial of timely decision on grant of sanction is in violation of due process of law.

“Therefore, the additional public prosecutor (for the state) is directed to submit a report as to within how much time the matter regarding grant, or otherwise, of sanction is likely to be decided,” the court ordered, listing the matter for further hearing on April 5.

The Delhi government was made to answer on the issue after DCP (Special Cell) Pramod Kushwaha told the court that request for sanction in the JNU sedition case is pending before the government.

Police have claimed Kumar was leading a procession and supported alleged seditious slogans raised on campus during an event on February 9, 2016.

Police also charged JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for shouting alleged anti-India slogans during the event, held to mark the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

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