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Delhi High Court asks JNU not to take coercive steps against Umar Khalid

Delhi High Court asks JNU not to take coercive steps against Umar Khalid
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Jawaharlal Nehru University not to take any coercive steps till Friday against its student Umar Khalid,...

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Jawaharlal Nehru University not to take any coercive steps till Friday against its student Umar Khalid, who was rusticated and slapped with a fine of Rs 20,000 in connection with a 2016 incident of alleged anti-India slogans being raised at an event.

Justice Siddharth Mridul issued notice to JNU on a plea by Khalid challenging the penalty imposed on him by an appellate authority of the university on July 4 in connection with the incident.

The court said the matter be listed on Friday along with another plea filed by JNU's former students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar, on whom Rs 10,000 fine has been imposed by the appellate authority.

During the hearing, Khalid's counsel said the urgency was that two weeks time was given by the authorities to pay the fine amount. JNU's counsel said Khalid has been rusticated for one semester starting from July 23.

The court said there cannot be any urgency as far as depositing of fine was concerned and added, "in the meantime, JNU shall not take any coercive steps against the petitioner (Khalid)".

The court had on Wednesday directed the varsity not to take any coercive step against Kumar, who has also challenged the penalty. Both of them have sought direction to quash the office order of July 4 passed by the JNU through the chief proctor.

Kumar has alleged in the plea that there were serious lapses towards observing the principles of natural justice and violation of the high court's earlier order.

On February 9, 2016, a poetry event was held at JNU in connection with the third anniversary of Afzal Guru's hanging for his role in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. A high-level panel of JNU had in 2016 recommended a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kumar.

It also suggested that Khalid be rusticated in connection with the incident. Besides, financial penalty was imposed on 13 other students for violation of disciplinary norms.

The students had then moved the high court, which had on October 12 last year directed the university to place the matter before an appellate authority to review the panel's decision.

On July 5, the university stated that the appellate authority had upheld the decision against Khalid and Kumar, and in some cases, the penalty had been reduced.

Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, arrested on charges of sedition in connection with the 2016 controversial event, are out on bail.

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