A year after the Delhi Police received prosecution sanction against former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others in the 2016 JNU sedition case, a Delhi court Monday took cognisance of the chargesheet and summoned all the accused on March 15.
In its chargesheet, police claimed Kumar led a procession and supported — along with others named as accused — seditious slogans raised on the JNU campus on February 9, 2016, during an event to mark the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Patiala House Courts) Dr Pankaj Sharma, while taking cognisance of the chargesheet against Kumar, Syed Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain Gattoo, Muneeb Hussain Gattoo, Umar Gul, Rayees Rasool, Basharat Ali and Khalid Bashir Bhatt, said, “The sanction to prosecute accused persons has already been filed by the Home Department, GNCT [Delhi government], dated February 27, 2020. After careful perusal of the chargesheet and consideration of the material, all the accused persons are summoned to face trial and they have been summoned through investigation officer for March 15, 2021.”
The accused face charges under IPC sections 124A (sedition), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 143, 149 (being a member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
The wait for prosecution sanction had been an irritant between the the AAP government in Delhi and the Centre. Police claimed the trial was stalled for want of sanction and several BJP leaders accused AAP of shielding the students by not giving the go-ahead.
On February 5 last year, in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly election, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told a poll meeting that if the BJP were to be voted to power, it would grant prosecution sanction against Kumar and Khalid, as well as JNU PhD student Sharjeel Imam, “within one hour” of forming the government.
On February 27, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government gave police the go-ahead to prosecute the accused. In an order, the Deputy Secretary (Home) stated: “Whereas on perusal of the chargesheet under Sections 124-A and 120-B IPC at Vasant Kunj (North) police station, and on consideration of the allegations made in case, and other material and evidences placed on record, it appears to the government of NCT of Delhi that the accused persons, have prima facie committed an offence under Section 124-A and 120-B IPC.” IPC section 124-A relates to sedition and 120-B to criminal conspiracy.