The Delhi High Court has set aside the JNU appellate order seeking disciplinary action against 15 students for organising an event protesting the hanging of Afzal Guru on campus on February 9, 2016. During the event, alleged “anti-national” slogans were raised. Guru was convicted of attacking the Parliament building on December 13, 2001.
The punishment for students, which included then JNU student union general secretary Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid ranged between a fine of Rs 10,000 to rustication for one semester, besides a fine of Rs 20,000 respectively. Another student, Anirban Bhattacharya, was declared out of bounds from the university for five years.
The students had moved the HC against the appellate order.
Remanding the matter back in the appellate authority, Justice V Kameswar Rao Thursday said the petitioners be allowed to inspect the records and documents of the high-level enquiry committee (HLEC) for two days during office hours.
They have to, however, notify the time and date to the authority in advance. After inspecting the records, the petitioners would have a week to file a supplementary appeal, following which the appellate authority would consider it. It would then “pass a reasoned order as expeditiously as possible, preferably within six weeks thereafter…” the judge said.
However, the judge made it clear that “the petitioner(s) shall not indulge in any strike or dharna or agitation or coercive action in future in connection with the issue, till such time the proceedings between parties attains finality”.
Underlining the “seriousness of the charges”, counsel for JNU, represented through its registrar, said the proceedings were held after providing opportunity to the petitioners the documents. It was only after the petitioners inspected the documents and were unable to answer the queries by the appellate authority that the order was passed, the counsel said.
Justice V Kameswar Rao said as per rules, every punished student had a right to appeal. Citing a Supreme Court verdict, the judge said, “It is expected that the appellate authority should have disposed the appeal by a reasoned and speaking order…”