No application of mind, says Delhi HC on action against DU student for BBC film screening

Apr 19, 2023 04:50 AM IST

The Delhi high court asked the Delhi University to provide PhD student Lokesh Chugh a proper reasoning for his debarment.

There was no application of mind in debarring PhD student Lokesh Chugh from taking exams for a year over his alleged involvement in the disturbance during the screening of BBC documentary “Modi: The India Question” on campus, the Delhi high court said on Tuesday while asking Delhi University to provide him proper reasoning for the action.

The two-part documentary by BBC titled India: The Modi Question aired in January (AFP Photo)
The two-part documentary by BBC titled India: The Modi Question aired in January (AFP Photo)

Also Read | BBC drama: High court notice to Delhi University on student’s plea

The documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state chief minister was screened on university campuses across the country even as the government slammed it as propaganda.

“There has to be an independent application of mind by the University. It is not reflected in the [debarment] order. You are a statutory body. You are a University...The impugned order does not show the application of the mind. It must have reflected why you are coming to the conclusion. You file your counter because you seek to rely on certain material. That material must be supplied to the petitioner,” said Justice Purushaindra Kaurav while hearing Chugh’s plea against the debarment.

Also Read | BBC documentary: Students detained during protest over Delhi University action

The court granted the university three days to file its response and posted the matter for hearing next on April 24. On April 13, the court issued a notice to the university and asked it to respond to Chugh’s plea.

Chugh has sought permission to take exams and challenged a show cause notice issued to him in February for his alleged involvement in the “disturbance of law and order” during the screening.

Chugh argued he neither facilitated nor participated in the screening. “Notably, the petitioner was neither detained nor charged with any form of incitement or violence or disturbance of the peace by the police,” Chugh said in his plea.

Chugh said despite replying to the notice detailing his absence from the spot and submitting his thesis in March, he was debarred.


    Reports from the Delhi High Court and stories on legal developments in the city. Avid mountain lover, cooking and playing with birds 🐦 when not at work

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