JNU sedition case hearing on Wednesday, but Delhi Police await government nod to prosecute
Until late Tuesday night, Delhi’s home minister was yet to approve or decline the prosecution sanction the Delhi police need to proceed with the JNU sedition case in court. The court will take cognisance of the charge sheet and begin the process to frame charges only after the Delhi government’s green light.
The Delhi government was yet to give the go-ahead to Delhi Police to prosecute Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for sedition, a day before a city court was set to hear the charge sheet against 10 people, including the three former Jawaharlal Nehru University student union leaders, for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans in 2016.
Until late Tuesday night, the home minister was yet to approve or decline the prosecution sanction the police need to proceed with the case in court. The court will take cognisance of the charge sheet and begin the process to frame charges only after the Delhi government’s green light.
Delhi government officials said the police had sent a copy of the charge sheet to the home department just two hours before they submitted it in court.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, investigating agencies have to take the approval or sanction from the state government while filing charge sheets in sedition cases.
A senior government official, who did not wish to be named, said the file is with Delhi home minister Satyendar Jain. According to government records, the file reached the home minister on January 21.
It was sent to Jain by the principal secretary (home). But, ever since, the file has remained with the minister.
“It took police three years to file the charge sheet. How can they expect the government to read and approve the file in a week? Things don’t work this way. One has to understand the case and the listed evidence. The minister neither approved the prosecution sanction nor denied it,” the Delhi government official said on condition of anonymity.
A media adviser to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said: “The Delhi government’s stand will be conveyed to the court by the police whenever the case comes up next.”
The Delhi police had on January 14 filed a charge sheet against 10 persons on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, rioting and other IPC sections.
The 10 persons include former JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, university student Umar Khalid and a practising doctor who was a student in a Ghaziabad college at the time of the incident. Kumar and the other students have accused the police of filing false charges against them.
According to the police, the 10 had allegedly shouted anti-India slogans on the evening of February 9, 2016. Police in their first information report said the former students and a few outsiders, who were invited to the campus, had held a rally inside JNU to mark the death anniversary of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru and Kashmiri separatist Maqbool Bhat.
A Delhi police officer supervising the case, who did not wish to be named, said, “According to a Supreme Court judgment, filing a charge sheet without the state government’s sanction is not illegal. One can produce a copy of the sanction later. We are yet to get a sanction. We may request court to proceed by taking cognizance in other Indian Penal Code sections, until we get the approval on sedition charges.”