New Delhi: Observing that there has been inaction on the part of Delhi police, the Supreme Court on Monday indicated that it will consider setting up a special investigation team to probe into the incidents of assault of JNU students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar when he was produced in Patiala House court on February 17.
A bench of justices J Chelameswar and AM Sapre did not accept the arguments of senior counsel Ajit Sinha, appearing for Delhi police, that everything was under control and no one assaulted Kanhaiya Kumar in the court hall prior to the commencement of the proceedings.
After going through various reports, justice Chelameswar told Sinha: “Is this the efficiency of the Delhi police in handling the situation? You are supposed to prevent the assault and apprehend the intruders. Now you say that the intruders are lawyers. The petitioners are justified in asking for a SIT and we will examine this.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan is appearing for petitioner Kamini Jaiswal, seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the three lawyers, Vikram Singh Chouhan, Yashpal Singh and OP Sharma and setting up of a SIT to probe into the incidents. Bhushan said the Delhi police remained a silent spectator when the whole incident happened. He said even the registrar general of the Delhi High Court had in his report said that an intruder entered the adjoining room of the court hall and assaulted Kanhaiya Kumar.
Citing the report of the six-member advocate panel which visited the Patiala court complex, Bhushan said there was blatant violation of the rule of law and also contempt on the face of the court committed by certain lawyers in the Patiala House court premises, as well as complete inaction from the Delhi Police. He also drew the attention of the court to a report of the National Human Rights Commission. In these circumstances, he urged the court to set up an SIT to probe into the incidents of attacks on February 15 and 17, and initiate contempt of court proceedings against the three lawyers.
Sinha denied that Kanhaiya Kumar was assaulted inside the court room. He pointed out that two FIRs were registered and the three lawyers were arrested, and they had come out on bail. He denied that the Delhi police remained as mute spectators when the violent incidents happened. He refuted the allegation of the six-member panel that Kanhaiya Kumar was assaulted inside the court room. This, he said, has been recorded by the magistrate in his order.
At this juncture justice Chelameswar drew counsel’s attention to the registrar general’s report which said police did not arrest the intruders. The judge said this showed the efficiency of the Delhi police.
The six-member panel of Supreme Court appointed lawyers have blamed the inaction of the Delhi police for the violence witnessed in the Patiala Court on February 15 and 17. In its report, the committee also mentioned that they were abused in filthy language and attacked with flower pots, pebbles and water bottles. It was also said that lawyers and journalists were locked inside the court room. It added that the accused Kanhaiya Kumar was badly beaten up by lawyers, and journalists were bashed up too, while the police failed to maintain law and order.
Though there was a large number of police personnel employed, they could not prevent the lawyers present from intimidating one and all. The report went on to say that two persons brazenly went inside the court hall where the accused was kept and assaulted him, and police did not apprehend them. It wanted responsibility to be fastened on police personnel who were present and who were aware of the apex court direction to ensure safety of the accused.
The registrar general of the Delhi High Court added that in spite his insistance to the DCP Jatin Narwal to apprehend the culprits who assaulted the accused inside the court hall, he did not do so. He said he was present since 1:10 pm and the man in questioning for assaulting Kanhaiya was not inside magistrate Lovleen’s court (no. 4), but was in the adjacent court (no. 3). According to the report, the man might have thrashed the accused before he was taken inside the court room. He said he had even asked the police to find out about the man and how he was allowed to come inside the complex despite the court order but he had not seen him beating Kanhaiya. Arguments will continue on April 22.