Kanhaiya Kumar moves bail plea in SC, hearing on Friday

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, booked by Delhi Police for sedition, on Thursday moved the Supreme Court for bail.

A bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre said they will hear the plea at 10.30 a.m. on Friday as senior counsel Raju Ramachandran sought an early hearing of the writ petition that was filed earlier in the day invoking its (apex court) jurisdiction under article 32 but said the hearing would be limited to the bail plea.

Under article 32, a citizen can move the Supreme Court for enforcing his fundamental rights.

Besides seeking bail, Kanhaiya Kumar has sought direction for his safety and security.

Invoking article 21 guaranteeing right to life and personal liberty and pointing to the atmosphere of violence that prevailed in Patiala House Court complex on February 15 and 17, Kanhaiya Kumar, in his petition, has said that the manner in which his physical harassment was allowed to take place was a clear pointer to the violation of his right to access justice delivery system.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president was arrested on February 11 after police registered a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy against him. On February 12 he was remanded to police custody for three days. On February 17, the metropolitan magistrate sent him to 14 days judicial custody.

Pointing to the threat to his “life and limbs” including threat to his legal team and others, Kanhaiya Kumar said that despite apex court direction to Delhi Police commissioner to ensure his safety, police failed to protect him and was “violently assaulted by the gathered crowd of lawyers” at Patiala House Court complex while he was in police custody.

He also mentioned in his petition of being punched by an unidentified person in the court room of the metropolitan magistrate.

A team of six lawyers that was sent by the apex court to take stock of the situation at Patiala House Court complex had on Wednesday told the top that despite the registrar general of Delhi High Court asking police to arrest that man, he was allowed to slip out.

Seeking to be released on bail, Kanhaiya Kumar has contended that he was “innocent” and police did not require his custody for any further interrogation and he was in judicial custody.

He also referred to the report, attributed to police sources, that no concrete evidence pointing to seditious activities has been found against him.

Earlier in Thursday’s hearing, senior counsel Harin Rawal submitted the report of the five counsel who were sent on Wednesday by the apex court for an on the spot assessment of the situation.

Senior counsel Ajit Kumar Sinha refused to sign the report as he claimed that he was not allowed to go through the report. Sinha had appeared for Police Commissioner B.S.Bassi before the apex court on Wednesday.

Besides the report by the five senior counsel including Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, Dushyant Dave, and A.D.N.Rao, Rawal also handed over to the court two pen drives containing video recording of the what they had witnessed in the Patiala House Court complex on Wednesday and its transcript.

All the three – report, two pen drives and transcript – were given to court in a sealed cover.

Senior counsel Siddharth Luthra handed over to the court a report on Patiala House court incidents by the high court registrar general. This too was in a sealed cover.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that the report by Delhi Police on the situation that prevailed in Patiala House Court complex including in the court room of Metropolitan Magistrate would be submitted by 10.30 a.m. on Friday.

Counsel R.P.Luthra objected to the statement by Delhi Police Commissioner Bassi that police would not oppose the bail plea by Kanhaiya Kumar and the way some senior counsel were “short-circuiting” the proceedings in the case before the subordinate court and bringing it before the top court.

The court said that it would first go through these reports before deciding whether they can be made public or shared with media.

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