The Delhi High Court Thursday asked the Delhi Police to place before it the latest position of cases relating to incidents of violence in Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University in December 2019 which had occurred in relation to student protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act ( CAA).
The high court said the police shall inform it about the status of cases that are going on in the trial court, including the number of charge sheets filed, charges framed, trialed commenced and the number of witnesses examined.
At the outset, a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked the counsel for Delhi Police “what is the status of these matters in the trial court, like charge sheet filed, the trial began, witnesses examined, etc.”
Advocate Dhruv Pande, appearing for police, said he will seek instructions on this and sought some time to gather the information.
The high court granted time and listed the matter for further hearing on December 23.
The incidents of violence in the varsity had occurred concerning student protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in December 2019.
The high court was hearing several petitions which have alleged that ruthless and excessive use of force and aggression was unleashed by the police and paramilitary forces on students within the university on December 13 and 15, 2019.
The petitioners before the court are lawyers, students of JMI, residents of Okhla in south Delhi, where the university is located, and the Imam of Jama Masjid mosque opposite Parliament House.
The batch of PILs has sought setting up a Special Investigation Team (SIT), Commission of Inquiry (CoI) or a fact-finding committee, medical treatment, compensation, and interim protection from arrest for the students, and registration of FIRs against the erring police officers.
The police had earlier opposed the plea for setting up of an SIT or a CoI to look into the incidents of violence, saying it would “amount to supplanting the law”.
The counsel for the police had said the reliefs sought by the petitioners cannot be granted as charge sheets have been filed in connection with the violence and they should have sought whatever relief they want to before the concerned subordinate court.
On the issue of police entering the varsity without permission, the police’s counsel had said internationally police are not denied access to educational institutions and universities.
About providing compensation to students who were seriously injured in the violence, he had said that it can be awarded only if there was an admission of the breach and in the present case the issue was still being examined.
The petitioners had said that there was a need for an SIT that was independent of the police and the central government which by their conduct have shown that their investigation into the violence was “not independent”.
They had also argued for a fact-finding committee saying the same was suggested by the Supreme Court and setting up such a body would “be the best way to soothe or put balm on the wounds of the students”.
The petitioners had said that such a move would also “reasure the public” and would restore the people’s faith in the system.
They had also urged the bench to consider setting up a CoI to look into the incidents of violence as fundamental rights and human rights of the students were allegedly violated by the police force.
The petitioners also contended that before entering the campus, the police ought to have sought permission from the varsity since the university is an autonomous body.
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