Sedition case:Govt gives sanction to prosecute Kanhaiya Kumar
The Delhi government has given permission to prosecute former Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others in the 2016 sedition case, officials familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The government, in its order issued on Thursday and seen by HT, said the 10 accused had “prima facie committed an offence punishable under sections 124A and 120B” of the IPC.
The permission comes nine days after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal promised that his government would take an early decision on granting f sanction to prosecute Kumar in the 2016 JNU sedition case, after a Delhi court had asked Delhi Police to file a status report on April 3.
Responding to the sanction, Kumar demanded a speedy trial and urged that the case is taken up in a fast-track court.“I thank the Delhi government for giving the prosecution sanction. I urge the Delhi police and government lawyers to take this case in all seriousness and ensure a speedy trial in a fast-track court. I hope this is done in the court of law instead of the ‘aapki adaalat’ of TV channels,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven Kashmiri students were accused of allegedly raising “anti-national” slogans at the JNU campus on February 9, 2016, during a protest against the death sentence handed out to Afzal Guru, a convict in the 2002 Parliament attack case.
A charge sheet was filed by Delhi police on January 14, 2019.
The file was pending with AAP minister Satyendar Jain, who handles the home department, which is responsible for taking such decisions, for more than a year. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, investigating agencies have to take the state government’s approval or sanction while filing charge sheets in sedition cases.
A senior official in the chief minister’s office said the decision was taken solely by the prosecution wing of the home department, which analysed the matter. Another official said a similar prosecution sanction was given by the Delhi government in the domestic violence case of AAP Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti.
“The home department had even taken recommendations of legal experts on this case and finally, after analysing all aspects, the prosecution wing of the home department gave the go-ahead. The sanction was actually given by the government on Thursday,” said the official.
A second official said there was no interference in the legal team’s decision making. “The CM office or any other department doesn’t intervene in the legal team’s decision making,” the official added on condition of anonymity.
The Delhi police did not comment on the matter.
Delhi BJP chief and northeast Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari said the Kejriwal government “finally” gave the sanction “probably keeping the current political situation in mind”. “We welcome the decision. We had been demanding that the Kejriwal goverment gives the approval and lets the law take its own course. We would now like Kejriwal to help police arrest AAP councillor Tahir Hussain so that the conspiracy behind the riots in north-east Delhi and the names of those involved in fuelling the violence could be unearthed,” he said.
The sanction has been granted nearly 11 months after the court on April 6, 2019, asked the AAP government to take a decision with a reasonable time-frame--three months--while noting that the delay was leading to a violation of the due process of law.
Raghav Chadha, AAP spokesperson and MLA from Rajendra Nagar, said, “Our government has not stopped prosecution in any case, including those pertaining to our own MLAs and party leaders. Our MLAs fought these in the courts, in most cases our MLAs were declared innocent while some cases are still pending in court. We believe that judiciary and judiciary alone should decide on the merits of each case. It is not for governments to decide on the merits of such cases.”