SC seeks Centre’s response on Delhi court violence plea

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New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the central government and Delhi Police on a plea seeking a SIT probe into the assault on journalists and JNU students by lawyers at the Patiala House Court here.

The notice is returnable on March 4.

The apex court bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre also issued notice to three lawyers – Vikram Singh Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma – for allegedly interfering in the administration of justice and wilfully violating the February 17 order of the Supreme Court.

While issuing the notice, the court asked counsel Prashant Bhushan – appearing for petitioner Kamini Jaiswal – whether it could look into the request for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) when the matter relating to violence in the Patiala House Court on February 15 and 17 was pending.

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Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on sedition charge, was assaulted by some lawyers in the court on February 15 and 17. Some JNU students and journalists, including an IANS reporter, were also assaulted.

Addressing the court, Bhushan said hearing of that petition would take place on March 10 whereas the threat perception was increasing with every passing day.

Bhushan said it was only on February 25 that proceedings for the renewed police remand took place in the Tihar Jail complex because bringing Kanhaiya Kumar to the Patiala House court complex, as it should have been done normally, was not considered safe.

Bhushan told the apex court that notices to three lawyers would be served through the Bar Council of India since petitioner-lawyer Kamini Jaiswal did not have their addresses.

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Pressing for a SIT probe, Bhushan said Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi sought to describe violence involving lawyers as a minor scuffle.

The court was told that the lawyers were arrested on minor charges and let off on bail soon thereafter.

“Did they (Bassi) say so in legal proceedings or in a general statement in the media?” asked Justice Chelameswar.

Telling the court that there was “no harm in examining the two pleas”, Bhushan said the conduct of the lawyers was an “unprecedented threat to justice, rule of law and gross contempt of court”.

He referred to the media reports of bragging and boasting by the three lawyers on camera in a sting operation, report of an eyewitness account of the violence by a judicial officer to the district and session judge and a report by the National Human Right Commission to back his case.

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