Court can’t rely on newspapers for decision-making: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would not rely on either news reports or newspapers while arriving at judicial decisions in cases connected with violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

A Bench, headed by Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, said this when a senior counsel displayed a newspaper to cite the Jamia Millia Islamai Vice-Chancellor’s statement on the police action against students, and sought the court’s attention to the published articles.

“We are not going to read newspapers and will also not rely on news reports to arrive at judicial decisions,” the Chief Justice told senior advocate Colin Gonsalves representing petitioners.

The top court also observed that most allegations by petitioners had been disputed by the Centre.

The Chief Justice said the court would see that peace was restored on the campus, and would decide what was the right thing in such circumstances.

The court also asked the petitioners’ counsels to not raise voices while making arguments. “Our intention is to restore peace. This is not a street and possibly there is the media here, no shouting,” said the Chief Justice insisting that lawyers should maintain their composure before the court.

The petitioners had two main concerns — students being indiscriminately arrested and injured students not receiving medical attention, apex court noted.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said, buses and private vehicles had been set afire. “No student is arrested so far. Within two hours the Jamia Millia Proctor came to the hospital, identified injured students and took them with him,” Mehta informed the court.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for petitioners, asked the court why no FIRs had been filed against the police. A judicial order would bring peace, she said.

The court also refused to set up a committee, headed by a retired apex court judge, as it was done in the Telengana encounter case. The issue of jurisdiction would arise as protests were happening in different parts of the country, it said.

The Bench said this court was not a court of facts. They could present the facts through the order of the high court, and then the court will look into it.

“We are not the institution to maintain law and order,” said the top court.

When Jaising cited the Delhi High Court order on the cop-lawyer clashes at a district court complex in Delhi that no coercive action would be made, the apex court said, “The order was by the high court.”