‘Need to assess if JNU speeches were seditious’: Delhi govt to court
The Delhi government Friday informed a city court that it needs time to assess whether the speeches made by former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, including former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others, were seditious in nature.
During a hearing, the government also said the Delhi Police had filed the charge sheet in the 2016 incident in a “secret and hasty manner”, without obtaining the approval of the competent authority for prosecution.
The government, through assistant public prosecutor Vikas said it will decide on the grant of sanction within a month after it receives the opinion of its standing counsel, Rahul Mehra.
The Delhi government’s home department in a submission also informed chief metropolitan magistrate Deepak Sherawat that it needs time to assess whether the alleged speeches by the accused “amounted to sedition against the state and an attack on the sovereignty of the nation by inciting violence or not”.
The opinion of its standing counsel is essential “as any rash decision will cause a miscarriage of justice”, the government said.
The court has listed the matter for April 8.
The court, on April 3, had sought a time frame from the Delhi government on taking a call on providing prosecution sanction in the JNU case. The court had 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.
The court had noted said “a considerable period” had already elapsed since the police filed the charge sheet. It was filed on January 14 against Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others, for shouting anti-India slogans and on the campus during an event on February 9, 2016. Kumar has denied the allegations and had accused the Delhi Police of framing him and the others.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, probe 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” following which Pramod Kushwaha, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), special cell, had appeared before the court and informed it that “grant of sanction was an administrative act and was not a part of the investigation”.
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