NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has permitted the prosecution of Left leader Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others over a long-pending sedition case that alleges the former JNU student led a procession that chanted “anti-national” slogans during an on-campus event in Feb. 2016.
The permission comes nine days after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal promised his government will take an early decision on grant of sanction to prosecute Kanhaiya in the sedition case after a trial court had asked Delhi Police to file a status report on April 3. The file was pending with AAP minister Satyendar Jain, who also handles the home department which is responsible for taking such decisions.
The government had kept the file for the prosecution of Kumar and other former JNU students for more than a year. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, investigating agencies have to take the approval or sanction of the state government while filing charge sheets in sedition cases.
The sanction has been granted nearly 11 months after the court on April 6, 2019, asked the AAP government to take a decision with a reasonable timeframe —three months — while noting that the delay was leading to a violation of the due process of law. The government then told court that it needed more time to assess if the speeches made by Kumar and nine others were seditious in nature and said it would decide within a month after receiving the opinion of its standing counsel. It also accused the Delhi Police of filing the charge sheet in the 2016 incident in a “secret and hasty manner.”
The prosecution of Kumar and others in the sedition case had become a rallying point in the recent Assembly elections in Delhi in which the BJP had accused the AAP of “shielding” those who were “working against” the country. It was in January last year that a 1,200-page chargesheet, naming Kumar and nine others, including two more former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, was filed in the trial court....