Days after a Delhi court rapped the police for failing to obtain approval from the Delhi government ahead of filing the chargesheet in the JNU sedition case, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government’s legal department is looking into the matter. The Delhi Police have been given time by the court till February 6 to get the requisite approval from the legal department.
Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal wrote: “I do not know whether Kanhaiya has committed sedition or not, which is being examined by the law department.”
He also accused the Modi government of “stalling” the AAP government’s projects in Delhi and asked if this did not amount to “sedition”.
Former JNSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya have been accused of sedition in the 2016 case. Both the Delhi Police and the AAP government engaged in a blame game after the court questioned how the charge sheet was filed without procuring the required sanction from authorities. “Why did you file (the charge sheet) without approval? You do not have a legal department,” the court asked police last week.
While the AAP official said no file related to the case had been brought to the notice of any Delhi minister, the Delhi Police said the department had applied for the sanction the same day that the chargesheet was filed. However, documents accessed by The Indian Express show that two hours before the chargesheet was filed on January 14, investigation officer Inspector Umesh Bharthwal filed an application for prosecution sanction with the Home department.
Section 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code dictates that “a prior sanction from a competent authority under 196 CrPC is a must”.
The chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police against Kanhaiya said he was leading a procession and supported seditious slogans raised on the varsity campus on February 9, 2016, at an event to commemorate the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru.
Police also charged Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during the event. It was based on video footage from six mobile phones, of which at least three belong to current or former members of the ABVP’s JNU unit, and one belongs to a constable. Police have, in their chargesheet, also cited raw footage collected by Zee News and a debate aired on the TV, channel to build their case against the accused in the sedition case.