Delhi court seeks time frame from government in JNU sedition case
A Delhi court Wednesday sought a time frame from the Delhi government on taking a call on the prosecution sanction in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sedition case.
The Delhi government’s home department informed the court that the decision to give a sanction is still under consideration.The court noted that the department had not specified a time frame for this and listed the matter for further hearing to April 5. The court said the grant/refusal of sanction is an administrative function and it should be performed within a reasonable time so that the trial is not held up. While calling the delay a violation of due process, the court also cited a Supreme Court judgment about having a three-month time limit on grant/refusal of sanction.
Chief metropolitan magistrate Deepak Sherawat said “a considerable period” had already elapsed since police filed the charge sheet. It was filed on January 14 against former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others, for shouting anti-India slogans and on the campus during an event on February 9, 2016.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, investigating agencies have to take the approval of the state government while filing a charge sheet in sedition cases. The court had earlier pulled up the Delhi Police for filing the charge sheet “without obtaining requisite sanction”.
The file on granting sanction has moved back and forth between the Delhi government’s home and law departments at least six times since January 14.
On Tuesday, law minister Kailash Gahlot said the sanction would take “some more time”. Gahlot had said the file was put before him by the law secretary. The home ministry, meanwhile, sought clarification if the competent authority to grant sanction was the minister or the Delhi lieutenant-governor. Gahlot had said they are analysing the issue.