Delhi High Court: NHRC report on Jamia violence gives clean chit to no one

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Delhi High Court
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The Delhi High Court while hearing a batch of petitions in connection with the violence that broke out in and around the Jamia Millia Islamia in December last year

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court while hearing a batch of petitions in connection with the violence that broke out in and around the Jamia Millia Islamia in December last year, on Friday observed that the report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) "does not give a clean chit to anyone".

A division bench of the high court presided by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said, "The NHRC report does not give a clean chit to anyone. It has stated that the entire police action was not handled very professionally."

The comment from the judges came while Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi appearing for the Delhi Police was citing the said report in order to justify the police action in and around the varsity in December last year.

The ASG argued that the entire police action was warranted, however, there were some individual cases of minor infractions. Following which, the court passed these observations.

Responding to the same, the ASG said that the report, however, does not state that the police action as a whole was unnecessary. "Calling the entry of police into the campus illegal and malafide just because the students inside the campus were from the minority community is completely untenable and unfounded," Lekhi said.

He further apprised the bench that the NHRC report states that the protests were not peaceful. "The protest was a mask for something far grave and serious. There has to be an intellectual inquiry," the ASG said.

The NHRC report also criticised the use of social media for circulating false rumours, the ASG argued while adding that the petitions too are based on such "rumour-mongering"

Following these arguments, the bench has now slated the matter for further hearing on August 28 post-lunch.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions relating to the violence that broke out in and around the Jamia MIlia Islamia in December last year. The batch of petitions which include the one filed by one Nabila Hasan sought action against the allegedly ruthless, and excessive use of force and aggression unleashed by the police and paramilitary forces on students within the university.

On the previous date of hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi had argued that University spaces are meant for educational purposes and not for engaging in disharmony.

"Universities are meant for education and are not for engaging in disharmony. Intervention is important when there is social disharmony," Lekhi had said.

"What works in the political sphere cannot work in the legal sphere," Lekhi had argued further while adding that petitioners have put grave allegations against the police merely on the basis of hearsay evidence. He also said that the petitioners have collected information in bits and pieces and collated it in a manner to suit their motives.

He had also said that the petitions concerning the violence that broke out in and around the Jamia Millia Islamia in December last year are merely based on opinion and agenda. "To shift from right to wrong, there should be something relevant... the accuracy of newspaper reports cannot be attributed," Lekhi said.

The batch of pleas has also sought registration of FIRs against the erring police officers.

Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had turned violent on December 15 near Delhi's Jamia Nagar. Several buses were set afire during the violence in which police and protesters sustained injuries.

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