JNU sedition-row: Court refuses chargesheet, says Delhi govt's permission needed
Five days after the Delhi Police filed a 1,200-page chargesheet against former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, and others, the Patiala House Court has refused to accept the filing. The court has now told the police that it has to get approval from the Delhi government first. Here are the details.
What charges had been brought against Kanhaiya, Khalid and others?
The 1,200-page chargesheet had been filed under Sections 124A (sedition), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine, forged document), 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 149 (unlawful assembly with common object), 147(rioting), and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The police had said that the charges are based on videos that show that anti-India slogans had been raised.
Who are the students facing charges?
Apart from Kanhaiya and Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat, and Basharat have been charged by the Delhi Police. 36 others are accused, but there is no direct evidence against them.
Chargesheets in sedition cases require approval from a competent authority
Earlier, it had been reported that the chargesheet had been filed without the Delhi government's approval. Such a filing ran contrary to procedure, as Section 124A (Sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) requires prior sanction from a competent authority - in this case, the government. Reportedly, Delhi Police had sought the government's permission on Monday, but it has been refused thus far.
Backstory: The JNU sedition row had become a national debate
To refresh your memory, the JNU sedition case became a national debate after it was alleged that anti-national slogans had been raised by JNU students on the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in February 2016. Following the incident, several students including Kanhaiya, Khalid, and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested on charges of sedition. However, they were later released on bail.
How Kanhaiya and Khalid had reacted to the chargesheet
Reacting to the development, both Kanhaiya and Khalid had hit out at the government, and alleged that the case was politically motivated. Speaking to NDTV, Khalid said that through the case, the government was "trying to divert attention and change the narrative in an election year to hide their failure." He had added that they would fight the case to prove their innocence.
Kanhaiya had "thanked" PM Modi sarcastically
"If the news is true that a charge sheet has been filed, I would like to thank police and Modi ji. The filing of charge sheet after three years, ahead of elections, clearly shows it to be politically motivated. I trust the judiciary of my country," Kanhaiya had told news agency ANI.