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JNU Sedition: Grant of sanction or otherwise to be decided by the Delhi Government, Delhi High Court

JNU Sedition: Grant of sanction or otherwise to be decided by the Delhi Government, Delhi High Court

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today refused to direct the Delhi Government to grant sanction in the JNU sedition matter, stating that the issue of grant of sanction has to be decided by the Delhi Government in accordance with the existing laws.

The Respondent (Delhi Government) will decide grant of sanction or otherwise in accordance with the law applicable to the facts of that case, the Court said. 

The Court also noted that the petitioner seemed to have “personal interest” in the FIR registered against former JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and others in relation to the JNU sedition case of 2016.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in a public interest litigation by former BJP MLA, Dr Nand Kishore Garg.

Apart from seeking a direction to the Delhi Government for the grant of sanction, the petitioner had also sought issuance of guidelines to expedite the process of grant of sanction in sensitive criminal cases.

Refusing to grant any relief, the Court observed that there were enough “meticulous laws” in place with respect to grant of sanction by State Government.

There is no need for further guidance.. there are enough laws to expedite issue of grant of sanction ..”, it said.

The Court also refused to grant petitioner’s plea for constitution of a High Powered Committee to “look into the matter”.

Government has got adequate number of officers.. There is no need of a super committee..“, it said.

In view of the above, the petition was disposed of.

The chargesheet in the case was filed by the Delhi Police on January 14. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had, however, refused to take cognizance on the chargesheet due to absence of sanction from Delhi Government. Since then, the matter has not been able to progress further as the issue of sanction is pending with Delhi Government’s Home Department.

In its report to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on the issue of delay in granting sanction, the Delhi Government had claimed that the chargesheet was filed by Delhi Police secretly and in a hasty manner, without obtaining approval from the competent authority. It had thus sought some more time to decide the issue.

Apart from Kanhaiya Kumar, the chargesheet has named students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, and seven others for allegedly  raising “anti-national” slogans at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on February 2, 2016.

They are booked for commission of offences under Sections 124A,143,147,149,120B and 323 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Delhi Police claims to have based its findings on the basis of documentary evidence, CCTV footage, and eye-witness accounts of approximately 90 persons.

Kanhaiya was granted interim bail by the Delhi High Court in the matter in March 2016, almost three weeks after being arrested on charges of sedition. Soon after, an Additional Sessions Judge granted interim bail to Khalid and Bhattacharya in the case