Law

SC Moved for SIT Probe into Pro-BJP Lawyers Caught in Sting

The chilling confession by three lawyers in a sting operation of how they are planning further violence against Kanhaiya Kumar in court should be probed by a special investigation team, a petition before the Supreme Court says.

Supreme Court of India. Credit: Shome Basu

Supreme Court of India. Credit: Shome Basu

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has been moved on Wednesday for a probe by a special investigation team into the contents of a sting operation conducted by a television channel exposing the role of three lawyers in the assault on JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar when he was produced in the Patiala House court on February 17.

Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, through her advocate Prashant Bhushan, has filed this writ petition which also seeks initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the three lawyers – Vikram Singh Chouhan, Yashpal Singh and O.P. Sharma, all of whom are close to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The petition said the immediate cause of filing this petition is the facts which have come to light about the blatant violation of the rule of law and also contempt on the face of the court committed by certain lawyers, including the three in the Patiala House court premises and the complete inaction of the Delhi Police which has been exposed by a Supreme Court-appointed panel, the National Human Rights Commission and the sting operation conducted on February 22 by India Today news channel.

The petition said the three lawyers have been shown saying that they beat up Kumar for three hours in the presence of the police. In fact, they are heard claiming that the police were not only supporting them but also appreciating their acts. The three lawyers have admitted that the attacks were not spontaneous but pre-planned and that they will repeat the same acts of violence when the Kumar is produced in court again.

One of them has been found brazenly saying that he will get a petrol bomb the next time and he will not leave him (Kanhaiya Kumar) even if he is charged with murder for doing so. He has also stated on camera that if he is arrested, he would like to go to the same jail and visit the accused’s cell and beat him up there itself. In these circumstances, the petition sought a probe into the attacks on February 15 and 17 and initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the three lawyers.

SC panel blames police inaction for Patiala House violence

Meanwhile the six-member panel of Supreme Court-appointed lawyers has blamed the inaction of the Delhi police for the violence witnessed in the Patiala House court complex on February 15 and 17.

In its report, which was released today, the committee also mentioned that they were abused in filthy language and pelted with flower pots, pebbles and water bottles. They also reported that lawyers and journalists were locked inside the court room. It said the accused, Kanhaiya Kumar, was badly beaten up by lawyers, and that journalists were assaulted.  The police failed to maintain law and order, they said.

“The atmosphere outside was surcharged and intimidating. Abuses were also shouted and hurled on Kapil Sibal and all other committee members. There was an instigation to intimidate the committee members and create an atmosphere of fear and terror. The upbeat mood of the crowd in lawyers’ dress who continuously were shouting slogans and abuses to present a terrorizing atmosphere was clearly visible.”

But for the security ring provided by the Supreme Court security police, it would not have been possible for the committee members to come out unscathed.

Though a large number of police personnel were deployed,  they could not contain the lawyers. It said two persons brazenly went inside the court hall where the accused was kept and assaulted him and police did not apprehend them. The committee wanted responsibility to be pinned on the police personnel who were present and who were aware of the apex court direction to ensure safety of the accused.

The Delhi Police in its report denied that the accused was assaulted by intruders in the court hall. Justifying its inaction, the police said past experiences had clearly shown that the police has always been at the receiving end and has been castigated for either excessive use of force or for not exercising enough restraint in the tackling of lawyers in court promises. It has also been seen that mostly the innocent lawyers face the flipside of any action and the unruly ones manage to go scot free. Hence the police personnel deployed in the court premises were asked to exercise restraint till the situation warranted retributive action.

The police said the fact that lawyers – who are supposed to act as pillars of democracy and defend human rights – could resort to reprehensible activity like physical assault, blocking of the gates, targeting media persons, chasing the students etc could not be visualised in normal condition. The registrar general of the Delhi high court however said that despite his insistence to DCP Jatin Narwal to apprehend the culprits who assaulted the accused inside the court hall, he did not do so.