'Lawlessness' continues in Delhi courts, journalist beaten up again

Disgusted with protests, Supreme Court orders more security in trial court where Kanhaiya case being heard.

New Delhi: In open defiance of the Supreme Court order, a large group of men dressed in lawyers' robes barged into the Patiala House court complex and allegedly beat up a journalist and a student before the court was to hear the sedition case of JNU students' union chief Kanhaiya Kumar.

The group shouted ‘Vande Mataram’ and waved the Indian flag. It was led by Vikram Chauhan, one of the lawyers who had attacked JNU students, faculty and several journalists on February 15 at the Patiala court where they had gathered to hear Kanhaiya's appeal.

Journalist Anwar, who was beaten up, said clashes erupted in the court complex and the cops present did not deter lawyers from shouting slogans and fighting with journalists and students.

Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested last week on charges of sedition for allegedly chanting anti-India, pro-Afzal Guru slogans at a February 9 event in JNU. However, he was given a clean chit by Delhi police who stated that Kumar was not involved in any anti-India sloganeering on campus.

According to reports, more forces have been deployed at Patiala House Court after the attack.

Read: BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha backs JNU student union leader, calls for his release

The Supreme Court was to hear today a plea on whether the police had acted as “mute spectators to the brazen display of brute force” on JNU faculty, students and scribes at the Patiala court on February 15. Unfortunately, lawyers protested inside the top court too, forcing judges to adjourn the hearing till February 22.

Lawyer Rajeev Tadac and his colleagues had chanted 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' slogans during the hearing. "If this is happening inside the SC, then what are we left to say," the Supreme Court observed before adjourning the matter.

Read: JNU row: Delhi Police conducts inter-state raids

The Supreme Court also directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to ensure proper and adequate security at Patiala House court complex where JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, charged with sedition, is to be produced before a metropolitan magistrate later today.

The apex court ordered there will be restricted entry of people when Kanhaiya's case is heard at Patiala court today. Kanhaiya's extended police custody of two days expires today.

Besides the presence of lawyers of both sides, the apex court bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre said two family members of the accused, if present, would be allowed in the court room, or one faculty member of JNU and a student would be allowed on behalf of the accused.

The bench also restricted the entry of the media inside the court room and said only five would be allowed inside. It said 25 journalists could enter the compound after proper identification and verification.

The apex court asked the Delhi High Court Registrar General to be present in the Patiala House court complex for verification of people or group of people who have been allowed access to the court room and its compound.

It, however, said that the directions given by it were limited to only today.

The bench was informed that administrative committee of the Delhi High Court would meet at 2 pm to analyse and peruse the report of the District Judge who was asked to prepare the account of the incident that had taken place on February 15 at the Patiala House court where the lawyers had thrashed students, teachers and journalists present in connection with the Kanhaiya Kumar case.

Read: JNU row: Supreme Court agrees to give urgent hearing to plea on court scuffle

The petition was filed by N D Jaiprakash, who alleged that police were a "mute spectator to this brazen display of violence and brute force being perpetrated on innocent persons".

"This petition merely seeks to assure safety of the accused, their relatives, friends, lawyers and journalists while discharging their legal as well as professional obligations. The surcharged and vicious atmosphere in the Court premises would come in the way of the fundamental right of the accused for a fair trial," the plea said.

The petition, which was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief J T S Thakur by senior advocate Indira Jaising, also demanded that the security measures in the court complex should be such that no person becomes victim of violence.

Read: JNU teachers divided over students’ stir

The petition said the violence witnessed in the court not only endangered the life of Kumar, arrested in a case of sedition, but also prevented journalists from carrying out their work of reporting court proceedings.

Hundreds of journalists held a protest march against the attack on mediapersons covering the hearing of a sedition case in which the JNU students' union president has been arrested and demanded that the culprits be brought to book.

The scribes, representing various journalist bodies, took out a march from the Press Club to the Supreme Court raising slogans in support of freedom of expression and against alleged police inaction during the incident yesterday.

Read: A group of people hit me, my action was 'natural': BJP MLA

A delegation of journalists also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and sought a thorough probe into the incident and strict action against those involved in the assault at the Patiala House Court Complex.

The journalists questioned the "silence of police" over the attack on students and scribes and dubbed it an insult to the judiciary as the incident took place inside a court complex.

Read: Lawyers attack JNU students, scribes in Patiala House court complex

Journalists, students and teachers of JNU were beaten up allegedly by groups of lawyers, drawing criticism from the press amidst calls for the Home Ministry to look into the "dereliction of duty" by police, which has been accused of being a "mute spectator" during the incident.

The journalist bodies said it was a matter of "great concern" that attacks on media are "going up".

Read: Venkaiah Naidu asks students to focus on education instead of Afzal Guru

Police have said two FIRs have been registered against unnamed persons in connection with the attack.

Earlier, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said the alleged negligence on the part of police is being probed and the guilty will face legal action.

Meanwhile, police refused to register an FIR against Rahul Gandhi on the complaint of some BJP leaders in Kanpur for supporting students protesting in JNU saying, it was out of their jurisdiction.

Read: Rahul Gandhi condemns attack on journalists in Delhi, calls it 'very wrong'

Terming Gandhi's act of support as 'anti-national' BJP president Surendra Methani along with other leaders marched to the police station to lodge an FIR. But Circle Officer Rajendra Dhar Dwivedi said that BJP Kanpur since the incident happened in Delhi, he refused to take the FIR.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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