SC seeks reply of Centre, police on plea against lawyers
The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on a plea seeking an SIT probe and initiation of contempt action against persons, including three lawyers who have allegedly been caught on camera “bragging and boasting” that they had beaten up JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and others, including scribes, in a court complex here.
“Notice,” a bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre, which was initially reluctant to entertain a separate plea on the JNU row, said at the fag end of the hearing. Notice has also been issued to Delhi Police.
The bench, which is hearing a similar petition on the issue and has fixed March 10 as next date, expressed its reservation at the outset saying, “The question is that there is another matter pending and until the proceedings in that case are concluded, should we initiate the contempt proceedings in this fresh one?”
Responding to court’s query as to why it should entertain the fresh plea, Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner lawyer Kamini Jaiswal, referred to the fact that Thursday’s remand proceedings had taken place inside Tihar Jail and said, “there is an unprecedented threat to the accused. There is an unprecedented threat to the rule of law. The police is accused of gross inaction”.
The bench said that the issue as to whether there should be a court-monitored SIT probe into alleged violent incidents at the Patiala House Courts on February 15 and 17 cannot be gone into right now.
Bhushan then alleged that the Commissioner of Police has been on record in saying to the media that these were minor scuffles.
“Have they (police) said anything like that in court or judicial proceedings. I think that this has been said to media,” the bench said and fixed the next hearing on March 4. The plea has sought “suo motu contempt proceeding” against lawyers Vikram Singh Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma on the ground that they have allegedly been caught on camera talking about the attacks.
It also sought a direction to set up a special investigation team to probe the incidents of violent attacks on journalists, students, teachers, defence lawyers and Kanhaiya on February 15 and 17 by some advocates in the premises of Patiala House courts here during the hearing of the sedition case involving the JNUSU leader.
The plea was filed in pursuance to an oral observation by a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, which is hearing the matters arising out of violence in the trial court premises in the JNU case, that the allegations are fresh ones and hence, a new petition is required to be filed.