The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre and Delhi Police on a plea seeking an SIT probe and initiation of contempt action against three lawyers who were allegedly caught on camera “bragging and boasting” that they had beaten up JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and others, including journalists, in the Patiala House court complex.
A bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre also issued notice to the three lawyers, allegedly caught in a sting operation, and fixed the matter for further hearing on March 4. At the outset, the bench was reluctant to issue notice on the fresh plea filed by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, saying that it is already hearing a matter on the issue which is to come up on March 10.
“The question is that there is another matter pending and until the proceedings in that case are concluded, should we initiate the contempt proceedings in this fresh one?” the bench asked. However, it later issued notice on the petition. A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur had yesterday listed the matter for hearing today after lawyer Prashant Bhushan sought urgent hearing of the matter. The plea has sought “suo motu contempt proceeding” against lawyers Vikram Singh Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma on the ground that they have allegedly been caught on camera talking about the attacks.
It also sought a direction to set up a special investigation team to probe the incidents of violent attacks on journalists, students, teachers, defence lawyers and Kanhaiya on February 15 and 17 by some advocates in the premises of Patiala House courts here during the hearing of the sedition case involving the JNUSU leader. The plea was filed in pursuance of an oral observation by a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, which is hearing the matters arising out of violence in the trial court premises in the JNU case, that the allegations are fresh ones and hence, a fresh petition is required to be filed.
The plea has alleged that the three lawyers interfered in the “administration of justice” and willfully violated the orders passed by the apex court on February 17. The petition, which also makes Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi Police as parties, has said facts have come to light that there was “blatant violation of the rule of law” in the trial court premises.
It has alleged that contempt of court has been committed by certain lawyers, including these three, and there was complete inaction on the part of Delhi Police “which has been exposed by the report dated February 18, of 5 senior advocates appointed as court commissioners by this court”. The plea also referred to report of National Human Rights Commission and a news channel’s sting operation on the issue.
The apex court had on February 23 agreed to consider a plea seeking contempt action against the three lawyers after it was mentioned by lawyer Prashant Bhushan before the bench. “This bragging and boasting by the lawyers are trampling the rule of law. It’s high time that the Supreme Court takes suo motu notice of the matter and issues contempt notice against these lawyers,” Bhushan had said.