The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s bail plea and asked him to approach the Delhi high court.
A bench of justice J Chelameswar and justice Abhay Manohar Sapre -- which agreed that hearing on Kumar’s bail plea was not possible in the Patiala House courts where journalists and students were thrashed by a mob of lawyers -- asked the HC to hear his bail plea “expeditiously”.
The top court also asked Delhi Police to ensure security for Kumar’s advocates.
“This is not the court and not the stage to hear the bail. Hearing Kanhaiya Kumar’s bail plea directly would open floodgates,” the SC said, adding it would give a wrong impression that other courts were incapable.
Kumar’s lawyers are likely to mention the bail for an early hearing before the high court on Friday afternoon.
Kumar is facing sedition charges for allegedly organising an event commemorating 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, where “anti-national” slogans were shouted. His arrest triggered a wave of campus protests across India, including in the Capital, where thousands of students hit the streets on Thursday evening.
Kumar had moved the apex court seeking bail on Thursday, claiming threat to his life in Tihar Jail, where he was sent on Wednesday in 14-day judicial custody. He was roughed up and chased away from the Patiala House court by agitating lawyers when he was taken there on Wednesday.
Kumar said in his petition there was no need for his custodial interrogation as he has already been sent to judicial custody. He claimed his innocence and said no purpose would be served by keeping him in the jail as the police have been finding it difficult to produce him even in the court.
In his application, the JNUSU president sought protection of “life and limb”, saying there is “great likelihood of an attack on him in prison” and said there was a need for the apex court to intervene.
Kanhaiya was arrested on February 11 after police registered a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy against him. On February 12 he was remanded to police custody for three days. On February 17, the metropolitan magistrate sent him to 14 days judicial custody.