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JNU row: SC issues notice against lawyers, seeks reply of Centre, cops

JNU protests Updated: Feb 26, 2016 13:43 IST
Supreme Court

A lawyer (C), who spoke to the media supporting JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, is beaten up by other lawyers outside Patiala House courts in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the three lawyers, who were allegedly caught on camera “bragging and boasting” that they had beaten up JNU’s Kanhaiya Kumar and others, including journalists, in a court complex.

The SC also sought a response from the Centre and Delhi Police on a plea seeking an SIT probe and initiation of contempt action against Vikram Singh Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma.

The bench of justice J Chelameswar and justice AM Sapre 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 a notice on the petition.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur had on Thursday listed the matter for hearing on Friday after lawyer Prashant Bhushan sought urgent hearing of the matter.

Jaiswal, in the PIL filed on Wednesday, has sought initiation of suo motu contempt against three lawyers for allegedly interfering in the administration of justice and wilfully violating the apex court’s February 17 order.

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Alleging “complete inaction of Delhi Police” in the face of violence by a section of lawyers and others, the PIL has referred to the February 18 report by the six-member lawyers’ panel sent by the apex court on February 17 to take stock of the situation, the February 19 report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), a sting operation by a news channel and an eyewitness account of violence by a judicial officer.

The PIL said the three advocates were found to be leading an attack in two incidents as reported by the media and allegedly admitted by them in a sting operation. They have not only been identified but they also admitted to their involvement in the incidents of violence but still police did not make any attempt to arrest them, the petitioner contended.

The petition quoted a first-hand account by a journalist who talked about the blatant mockery of the judicial process and quoted the assailants as saying “Ab le aao SC ko apne saath, kahan gaya SC is waqt (Now bring the Supreme Court with you, where is the Supreme Court right now).”

“The atmosphere, to say the least, not being at all congenial, was surcharged, threatening, and frightening and police had completely failed in its duty to contain the atmosphere and crowd,” the petitioner said quoting the February 18 report by the lawyers panel submitted to the apex court.

It says despite the Delhi high court registrar general asking deputy commissioner of police Jatin Narwal to apprehend an unauthorised person on the court premises, he was allowed to escape.

The PIL also refers to the NHRC report of February 19 saying that the attack by some people dressed as advocates in the Patiala House court complex on February 17 on Kumar “appears to be organised and pre-planned” and a “major security lapse”.

Referring to the sting operation by a TV channel, the PIL pointed out that the lawyers involved in the attacks admitted that these were “not spontaneous but in fact were pre-planned” and asserted they would repeat the same acts of violence when Kanhaiya is produced in the court again.

It has also pointed out that lawyer Yashpal Singh brazenly said that he would get a petrol bomb next time and would not leave Kumar even if he was charged with murder.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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