Never Told JNU Was Holding Disciplinary Hearing: Students Tell The Court
JNU students, whom the varsity has punished for indiscipline in connection with the controversial February 9 last year event, today told the Delhi High Court that they were never told by JNU that a high-level enquiry committee (HLEC) was carrying out disciplinary proceedings.
Education | Press Trust of India | Updated: Jan 4, 2017 7:44 pm IST | Source: PTI
"It was only an enquiry committee, set up purely to enquire. It was to be a fact-finding exercise. No one knew it was a disciplinary proceeding," the lawyer for JNU student Umar Khalid, who was arrested by the police in connection with the event, argued before Justice V K Rao.
"It (HLEC) was not set up to find someone guilty and punish them. It was set up to enquire into the incident and then recommend what action was to be taken," Umar's counsel Akhil Sibal said.
He also argued that his client was first found guilty of indiscipline and then was charged for it.
He contended that no notice of enquiry was served on the student, who was in hiding for several days before surrendering after which he was in jail till March 18, 2016.
After hearing arguments on behalf of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, the court listed the matter on January 9. Till then the interim order putting on hold the varsity's decision would continue, it said.
Besides Umar, Anirban and former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar were also arrested by the police in the sedition case which was lodged after the event during which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.
The court was hearing appeals by 21 students, including Kanhaiya, against the varsity's order holding them guilty of indiscipline in connection with the February 9 event.
The students have contended that not giving them due opportunity to defend themselves against the charge of indiscipline, violated the principles of natural justice.
They have also challenged their punishment which ranges from rustication for a few semesters to withdrawal of hostel facilities.
The appellate authority of the university had rusticated Umar from JNU till December 2016, while Bhattacharya was asked to be out of the varsity for five years.
Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban were earlier arrested in a sedition case in connection with the February 9 event on the campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
They are now out on bail.