JNU sedition case: Fine on Kanhaiya ‘irrational and illegal’, says Delhi HC 

File photo of Kanhaiya Kumar

Quashing the order, court observed that the JNU administration’s order was “unsustainable on innumerable counts.”  The counsel for the varsity submitted that they are recalling the decision

The Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) order slapping a fine of ₹10,000 on former student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, holding that the penal action suffered from procedural impropriety, illegality and irrationality.

Kanhaiya had moved the High Court on July 17 seeking direction to quash the order dated July 4 passed by the university chief proctor, that accused him of violating university norms.

Quashing the order, Justice Siddharth Mridul observed that the JNU administration’s order was “unsustainable on innumerable counts.” Following the court’s order, counsel for the varsity submitted that they are recalling the decision.

“The JNU counsel wants to recall the office order, with the liberty to comply with directions of this court passed in earlier round of proceedings between the parties, in accordance with law, culminating in a reasoned order.”

“In view of JNU counsel’s statement, the office order is set aside,” said the court.

Rebecca John, who represented Kumar, argued in the court that he neither did organize the said event nor shout any objectionable slogans.

Kanhaiya - who has recently completed his Ph.D in ‘social transformation in South Africa’ at the School of International studies - was held guilty of violating the disciplinary norms and asked to pay the fine by the university administration in connection with a 2016 incident on the campus wherein anti-India slogans were raised.

An enquiry found student-activist Umar Khalid, along with Kumar and Anirban Bhattacharya, guilty; and recommended rustication of Khalid, apart from imposing financial penalty on 13 other students for violation of disciplinary norms

Kumar said in his plea that there were serious lapses in observing the principles of natural justice and there was violation of the Delhi High Court directions on October 12, 2017.

An enquiry found student-activist Umar Khalid, along with Kumar and Anirban Bhattacharya, guilty; and recommended rustication of Khalid, apart from imposing financial penalty on 13 other students for violation of disciplinary norms.

However, the court did not pass any order on Khalid and Bhattacharya’s plea, but directed the JNU not to take any coercive steps against them till further orders. The three were accused -- though none yet charge-sheeted -- of raising slogans against the integrity of India during a poetry-reading gathering of students at the Sabarmati Dhaba on the campus on February 9, 2016.

Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, were arrested in February 2016 on charges of sedition in connection with the controversial event and are currently out on bail. The three were accused -- though none yet charge-sheeted -- of raising slogans against the integrity of India during a poetry-reading gathering of students at the Sabarmati Dhaba on the campus on February 9, 2016.

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