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The Supreme Court of India refused to hear the bail petition of Kanhaiya Kumar, choosing to transfer the matter to the Delhi High Court instead. The apex court also directed the Central government to provide security to Kumar’s lawyers.
The direction was issued by a Division Bench of Justices Jasti Chelameswar and AM Sapre in the Article 32 petition filed by Kumar seeking bail. Senior Advocates Soli Sorabjee, Raju Ramachandran and Rajeev Dhavan appeared for the Central government. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar appeared for the Union government and Delhi Police.
When Raju Ramachandran commenced his arguments at 10.30 am today, the first question put by the court was the reason for filing a bail plea underArticle 32.
“The appropriate court would have been Sessions Court. But considering the prevailing atmosphere, it is impractical, unsafe and dangerous for the accused’s lawyers to move the Sessions court. It is an absolutely extraordinary situation”, submitted Ramachandran.
Rajeev Dhavan also submitted that the Supreme Court is the safest court.
“The topographies of the courts are different. A lawyer could be attacked while walking from his car to the court. The proximity card system in this court ensure that everybody can’t enter this court. They have the right to protest. I don’t deny thay. But it has turned vicious”, submitted Dhavan.
Advocate Vrinda Grover who was one of Kanhaiya’s lawyers at Patiala House, was also present for today’s hearing. She submitted that the situation was not just “extraordinary but life threatening”.
“The Registrar General of the High Court could not carry out your lordships orders. Lawyers cannot be marked like this because they are appearing for X or Y”, she submitted.
The Court told Kumar’s lawyers that he should have moved the High Court first and if the same situation prevails there, they could approach the Supreme Court.
“You have not made an attempt to go there. If you had made an attempt to go there and you are prevented there too, then we can understand”, said Chelameswar J.
Raju Ramachandran then submitted that the Bar of the city is agitated.
“Today, the fine distinction between the Bar of High Court and District courts does not exist, the Bar elections these days…”
Before he could complete, advocate RP Luthra, who has been vociferous in his opposition to the accused, objected to the same.
The Court finally asked the Solicitor General if the government could assure the safety of the lawyers to which SG Ranjit Kumar replied in the affirmative. Ranjit Kumar also pointed out that the bail petition is silent on merits.
The court then transferred the petition High Court with liberty to the petitioners to file further petitions or material “to bring it in tune with the law”.
“After hearing learned counsel for the petitioner, learned Solicitor General and the submissions of other members of the Bar (who volunteered to make submissions in this matter), we are of the opinion that the present petition be transmitted to the Delhi High Court for consideration of the prayer for bail of accused Kanhaiya Kumar in FIR No. 110/2016 filed at P.S. Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. We also grant liberty to the petitioner to file such further petitions or other material which he deems appropriate to bring the application in tune with the requirement of law. We permit the petitioner to move the Delhi High Court today. We request the Delhi High Court to consider the application expeditiously and pass appropriate orders in accordance with law.”
Recording the assurance by the Solicitor General that all necessary precautions, the Court has directed the High Court to tale all steps necessary to ensure peaceful conduct of the proceedings.
“…Having regard to the history of the case, we deem it appropriate to request the High Court to take such appropriate steps as it deems fit and proper to ensure the peaceful conduct of the proceedings. We also place on record that the learned Solicitor General appearing for the Union of India as well as the Commissioner of Police, Delhi assure that all necessary precautions will be taken in consultation with the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court for the peaceful conduct of the case.”
Meanwhile a petition filed by advocate Subhash Chandran seeking an SIT probe into the Patiala House violence was withdrawn as the averments in the petition describing RSS an ‘extremist organisation’ were objected to. Chandran has been given the liberty to file a new petition after making suitable amendments.