A day after he was roughed up and chased away from the Patiala House court by agitating lawyers, JNU students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking bail.
Kumar, facing sedition charges, has claimed threat to his life in Tihar Jail, where he was sent to on Wednesday night in 14-day judicial custody.
This is an unprecedented move since normally bail petitions are not entertained directly by the Supreme Court as litigants have to exhaust their legal remedies before trial courts and the high court before approaching the top court. However, in exceptional cases, the SC can entertain such petitions under Article 32 of Constitution -- a tool for enforcement of fundamental rights.
The SC termed as “extraordinary circumstances” the violence in the Patiala House courts and rejected a lawyer’s contention that exceptional importance was being given to one case.
In his plea, Kumar said he “perceives a threat to his life in prison where there is great likelihood of an attack on him by his co-prisoners”.
A bench of justice J Chelameswar and justice AM Sapre agreed to hear his plea and posted it for hearing on Friday along with another petition filed by a Delhi-based advocate Subhash Chandran KR seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe in the violence that took place on two separate days at Patiala House Court complex.
The top court appointed a panel of six senior advocates, sent to assess the situation in Patiala House court after some lawyers in open defiance of the apex court orders attacked Kumar and targeted journalists, also submitted it report in a sealed cover. The report also includes a pen drive containing mobile clip of committee’s visit to Patiala House court complex.
One of the panel’s members Rajeev Dhawan told the media outside the court that “I have no difficulty in my mind, there is police collusion. As we went inside (Patiala House courtroom), we were told that somebody who was not allowed by the SC to enter the court, that person entered, went out”.
The Administrative Committee of the Delhi high court also submitted its report on the violence. The Delhi Police said its report will be submitted by Friday.
Earlier during the day, the SC asked people to be careful while issuing statements on the ongoing row, saying it was keeping an eye on the law and order situation prevailing in the Patiala House court complex.
The observation came when lawyer RP Luthra alleged that Delhi Police is being pressured not to oppose the bail plea of Kumar.