Delhi High Court Stays Disciplinary Action against All Student Leaders

Punitive actions seen to be extremely coercive stayed against JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya & Others

Image: The Hindu

Delhi High Court has stayed all disciplinary action against JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and all other students coercively acted against by the administration on April 25, reported ANI.

Twenty students had gone on an indefinite hunger fast in protest from April 27-28 onwards. This protest was still continuing until today though as many as nine had to withdraw due to failing health.

While news agency PTI reported that the HC had put on hold JNU’s disciplinary action against Kanhaiya and others till their appeal against University order was decided the by appellate authority, after speaking to advocates who appeared for the students was told that, the appellate authority is the Vice Chancellor (VC) himself. The order is being viewed as a bid to bring temperatures down and end the impasse with the university administration refusing to even dialogue with the protesting students. In any case, students have been given a window of a fortnight to approach the High Court if the 'appellate authority' rules again, against them.

In oral observations, the Delhi High Court said it would hear Kanhaiya Kumar and the JNUSU's pleas only if they ended their hunger strike. The HC order puts on hold the disciplinary action of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), including rustication, against Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others till their appeals against the order is heard and decided by the varsity’s appellate authority. Until 8 p.m. the order was still being finally worked out.

Justice Manmohan reportedly is recording an undertaking given by the students, who have filed writ petitions challenging the university’s order following a report of the High-Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC), that they will withdraw their ongoing hunger strike and not indulge in any further agitation.

The court also said that if the JNU Vice-Chancellor, who is the appellate authority, rejects the appeal of students, the decision would not be given effectfor two weeks. This will enable the students to move the High Court again to challenge the decision. Three or four batches of petitions were filed by students challenging the penalties imposed on them by JNU for their alleged role in a controversial event organised on University campus on February 9.

Based on the HLEC’s report, JNU had taken varying actions, ranging from rustication to debarment from the varsity and imposition of fines, against the petitioners and other students and research scholars.

The High Court had earlier this week asked the JNU administration to explain the decision for rustication of two students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who were also accused of sedition, and submit relevant documents as well as the five-member HLEC’s report. Mr. Kumar — who was slapped with a fine of Rs.10,000 — Mr. Khalid and Mr. Bhattacharya are currently out on bail following their arrest on charges of sedition in connection with the February 9 event marking the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Delhi High Court order

Timeline Hunger Strike

April 25, 2016: JNU rusticates Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya. Umar has also been fined Rs. 20,000 and Anirban barred from JNU campus for five years from July 23, 2016. JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar fined Rs. 10,000.

April 26, 2016: JNU students reject punishment, burn report

May 6 2016: VC issues an ‘appeal’ to students saying hunger fast is ‘illegal and ‘unconstitutional’ The VC also writes separately to the students (JNUSU) and teachers (JNUTA) against allowing 'outsiders' into the campus.

ABVP leader from the Delhi university had meanwhile been allowed inside the campus where he had reportedly shouted abusive slogans and also threatened to 'shoot' JNUSU leaders. Besides the VC and other senior administration officials are believed to have direct linkages with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

April 28: Students throw down the gauntlet and launch a hunger strike

Umar and Anirban move court against their rustication, court asks JNU administration to explain the decision for their expulsion and submit relevant documents as well as the report of its High-Level Enquiry Committee. The HC stays the fine of Umar Khalid imposed by the university and orders the university administration to file a counter affidavit and produce all the documents related to the HLEC and procedures adopted before the High Court.

May 10, 2016: A stormy Academic Council meeting is held in which the administration and VC was compelled to discuss the HLEC report. The meeting was then summarily suspended  or adjourned by the VC
May 11 2016:  The Registrar of JNU Pramod Kumar issues another appeal to the fasting students referring to the matters in the High Court wherein the HC has asked for all documents related to the HLEC meeting to be produced before the Court.

JNUTA send a memorandum to the Vice Chancellor. JNUSU also sends a memorandum to the VC.

May 12, 2016: Kanhaiya, others move HC against JNU action. Apart from Kanhaiya, the others who have challenged the order are Ashwati A. Nair, Aishwariya Adhikari, Komal Mohite, Chintu Kumari, Anwesha Chakraborty and two others. The JNUSU also challenges the attitude of the administration during the agitation.



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