Granting bail to JNU student body president Kanhaiya Kumar on Wednesday, the Delhi High Court expressed concern over what it called the growing anti-nationalism on the university’s campus and called it a “malaise.”
Students and teachers demand the release of Kanhaiya Kumar in New Delhi on Wednesday.
“Today, I am at a crossroads,” said Justice Pratibha Rani even as she allowed Kumar’s plea for bail on conditional grounds.
The court expressed its concern over the growing antinational activities in JNU and the demoralising effects slogans praising terror convicts such as Afzal Guru could have on those risking their lives while protecting citizens from enemies at the nation’s frontline.
The freedom of speech enjoyed by the students is a result of the sacrifice of such soldiers, the court said.
“The kind of slogans raised may have demoralizing effect on the family of those martyrs who returned home in coffin draped in tricolour,” the court added.
In her 23-page order, Justice Rani said that freedom of speech was a fundamental right that must be weighed against a citizen’s fundamental duties. Both are two sides of the same coin, she added.
The court said that JNU faculty must play a pivotal role in guiding their students to the “right path.”
The faculty must find out the reason “behind anti-national views in the mind of students who raised slogans on the death anniversary of Afzal Guru,” court directed.
Court added that it did not believe that the slogans raised, at face value, were protected by freedom of expression as defined by the Indian Constitution,
“I consider this as a kind of infection from which such students are suffering which needs to be controlled/cured before it becomes an epidemic,” she said.
“Whenever some infection is spread in a limb, effort is made to cure the same by giving antibiotics orally... However, if the infection results in infecting the limb to the extent that it becomes gangrene, amputation is the only treatment,” the HC said.