Delhi HC asks JNU to reply on students’ plea challenging rustication

New Delhi: With two JNU students challenging their rustication for a few semesters in connection with the controversial February 9 event in the campus, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the varsity to respond to their pleas.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva also asked the university to file reply on separate petitions filed by three other JNU students who have also moved the court against the fine imposed on them by the appellate authority.

During the hearing, the advocate appearing for the two students, who were rusticated for a few semesters, said that JNU should be asked not to take action against their clients till their pleas are pending. To this, the court said, “there is an oral assurance (by JNU’s counsel) that no action will be taken now.” The court fixed the pleas of these two students for hearing tomorrow when it would also hear arguments on the petitions of two other JNU students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who have also challenged the penalty imposed on them by the authority.

While Khalid has been rusticated from the university till December this year, Bhattacharya has been directed to be out of the varsity for five years. The pleas by three more students who have challenged the fines imposed on them would be heard on October 19.

JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on Tuesday had claimed in the court that penalty imposed on him by the appellate authority was “completely incorrect” and varsity should not “fight” with its students in such a manner. In its August 22 order, the authority had imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kanhaiya and asked him to give an undertaking that he would not get involved in any unauthorised event and abide by all rules and regulations.

The order by the appellate authority had come on the appeals filed by several students against the findings of a high-level enquiry committee which was set up to look into the matter relating to the February 9 event in which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised inside the campus. The high court has asked JNU not to implement the order of authority till the next date of hearing on these pleas.

Kanhaiya, Khalid and Bhattacharya were earlier arrested in a sedition case in connection with the February 9 event on campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. They are now out on bail.