HC holds JNUSU chief, others guilty of contempt of court

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New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday held JNU Students Union members, including its President Geeta Kumari, guilty of contempt of court for violating an order that barred them from protesting near the administrative building on the campus.

“On the basis of the photographs and admissions made by the respondents (JNUSU leaders), they did congregate/held protests in the administrative block, which is in wilful violation of court order dated August 9, 2017,” Justice V. Kameswar Rao said.

The court, while taking into consideration that the said students are pursuing higher studies and are on the threshold of their careers, said that the interests of justice would be served if a fine of Rs 2,000 is imposed on each of them.

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The court directed them to deposit the fine with the court Registrar General within two weeks.

The court order came on a university contempt plea for action against the erring students for violating court order that barred them from protesting within 100 metres of the university’s administrative building.

In February, the students had protested against the new attendance rule and allegedly blocked the way of staff who wished to enter the Jawaharlal Nehru University administrative block here.

The students were on strike against the new attendance rule, according to which they would have to forfeit their hostel accommodation and scholarships/fellowships if they fail to achieve 75 per cent attendance.

The court turned down the defence of the students that the protests have not resulted in any obstruction.

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“… the respondents (JNUSU) have, in fact, re-argued the writ petition by contending that they have a right to protest, that too at the administrative block… in other words, an attempt has been to justify their conduct,” the court noted.

The court observed that during the arguments, the students union has not expressed any regret or remorse for violating the orders.

“The interpretation sought to be given to the order by the learned counsel for the respondents is only an attempt to wriggle out of their contemptuous acts,” the court said.

The JNUSU, in a statement, said that it will explore remedies against the said court order as it resolved to fight what it called an “authoritarian” university administration.

–IANS

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