High Court gives directions for safety of JNU students

DELHI: Laying emphasis on ensuring the safety of two JNU students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who surrendered to the police on Tuesday night, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed that their remand proceedings in the sedition case be conducted with confidentiality.

The court asked the police to ensure that “no one suffers even a scratch” and any disorder was controlled.

The JNU students had filed separate petitions in the High Court seeking their security before they surrendered to police. The petitioners’ counsel told the Bench of Justice Pratibha Rani that since the students had surrendered, the prayer did not survive.

A special court later remanded the two to three-day police custody.

‘Depute magistrate for remand proceedings’

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday observed that it would not only ensure the security of the two JNU students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who surrendered to the Delhi police on Tuesday night, but also make sure that the remand proceedings are conducted in accordance with law.

Since the remand proceedings could not be conducted at Patiala House Court, which had witnessed violence recently, the Bench of Justice Pratibha Rani directed the court’s Registrar-General to depute a Metropolitan Magistrate for the purpose. The petitioners’ counsel were to be apprised of the remand application and the place for its hearing.

The court’s order and observations came a week after the violence inside Patiala House Court, where JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, university students, journalists and others were assaulted on two days during the student leader’s production before the Magistrate.

The court said all concerned were expected to maintain confidentiality in respect of the proceedings with a view to avoiding any unpleasant incident and to ensure safety of the petitioners.

Umar and Anirban had surrendered before the police on the night intervening Tuesday and Wednesday in the sedition case registered against them in connection with an event organised on February 9 on the JNU premises against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

The High Court had on Tuesday refused to stay the arrest of the two students for a day and asked them to inform it about the date, time and place where they wish to surrender.

The court had said that the students would be required to follow the due procedure of law in handing themselves over to police.