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Police won't be able to save Kanhaiya; he faces serious threat: Lawyers tell SC

Source: PTI
February 17, 2016 23:39 IST
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A team of senior lawyers set up by the Supreme Court to report to it on the situation in the Patiala House courts where JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar was produced on Wednesday, said there was "complete breakdown of law and order" and an atmosphere of "fear and terror" prevailed there and the police did not act.

A lawyer waves a Tricolour at Patiala House Court. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

"There is a serious threat to the life and safety of the accused (Kanhaiya) and this police will be unable to save him," the six-member team of lawyers said giving an oral ground report to the apex court.

They said they too bore the brunt of the people in lawyers' robes who gave them "the choicest of the abuses and tried to hurt them by throwing sharp-edged flower pots and water bottles".

Stating that visuals of the events were filmed by one of them using mobile phone, the lawyers said "this particular atmosphere is unprecedented. Police did not do their job."

"The crowd broke the cordon and threw water bottles and sharp-edged flower pots on us. This is broadly the report," they said, adding that

The committee, comprising senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhawan, Dushyant Dave, Harin Rawal, Ajit K Sinha and advocates Prashant Bhushan and A D N Rao, had rushed to the Patiala House court after being directed by the Apex court.

It was Dhawan, who started giving an account of the panel's visit to the Patiala House Court to a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre, saying he had never seen the crowd of such a proportion as witnessed there and termed it as "an unprecedented situation".

Dave joined him saying the atmosphere was surcharged and of "fear and terror".

Noted lawyer Kapil Sibal leaves Patiala House Court. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo

Dhawan said they had spoken to Kanhaiya Kumar who said he was attacked and beaten on his way to the court room and inside, a man in dark spectacles, not in lawyers' dress, had gone near the accused, asked him something and hit him. This man also sat in the court room later, he added.

"How did he get inside the court room when there was a specific order of this court? When the accused asked the police to stop him, no action was taken," Dhawan said.

Dhawan said the team also spoke to area DCP Jatin Narwal, who was present in the court room as to why the man was not stopped, the officer had no answer even when he was specifically told about the Apex court order passed in the morning.

"Each one of us told him how that person entered the court room and how he pushed the accused," Dhawan said, adding that the accused was beaten outside and pushed inside the court room.

"We need a report on how this person was allowed in the court room," the senior lawyer said.

Dhawan said as they were entering the court with police escort, Sibal was abused and flower pots etc were thrown on them and slogans like "Ye Pakistan ke dalle hain (They are Pakistani agents)" raised.

He even mentioned an expletive in Hindi saying he was sorry to mention it but "there were all kinds of abuses for them".

While Sibal, Dhawan and Bhushan had appeared for the petitioner N D Jayaprakash, an alumnus of JNU, who filed the petition against police inaction on February 15 and seeking safety of Kanhaiya Kumar, charged with the offence of sedition, Sinha had represented the Delhi Police and its Commissioner B S Bassi in the matter.

Rawal, former Additional Solicitor General during the UPA government, and Rao were watching the proceedings and had agreed to be part of the panel.

Dhawan said though the team was under the security cover, the police cordon was broken and "Rawal has recorded everything on his mobile camera."

A lawyer shouts slogans at Patiala House Court. Photograph: PTI Photo

He also said he spoke to registrar general of Delhi high court who was asked by the bench's order to be present in Patiala House court and had asked the DCP to arrest the man who had entered the court room unauthorisedly, but this was not done.

Dave again said, "There is a very serious threat to the safety of the accused. This police will be unable to save him. We interrogated DCP Jatin Narwal how that person came in and out of the court. The DCP didnt have the answer."

The bench interrupted him and wanted to know from Delhi Police counsel and senior advocate Ajit K Sinha if he can find out how many officers were there in the court.

He said around 30 officers were there and the police was waiting for the accused' medical examination after which he would be taken safely.

Expressing apprehension whether the 30 people could provide safety and security to the accused, the senior lawyer said "there is a need for CRPF as even our cordon was broken. The accused is terrorised."

After this statement of Dhawan the bench asked Sinha to speak to Commissioner of Police about taking responsibility of the safety of the accused saying he (CP) will be responsible for any untoward incident.

While they were making submission of the situation orally and made reference of the film of the events made by Rawal on his mobile, the bench said, "Put everything in the report about what you have narrated and experienced."

The bench also mentioned about the submissions made to shift the venue of proceedings saying that it did not pass any such order "as it would have given a wrong signal."

"That is why we didn't do that," the bench said.

The bench also asked senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, who was representing the Delhi high court Registry, "Can proceedings be conducted in this way?"

He gave certain suggestions including that of holding the proceedings near the lock-up of the Patiala House court complex which was opposed by counsel from the other side.

Dave, who was critical of the security provided to Kanhaiya Kumar, said such was not the situation when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has filed defamation case against AAP leaders, came for recording of his statement.

"There was unprecedented security when Jaitley had come," he said, but the court preferred to refrain from making any remark on his this submission.

When Dhawan said the accused was still under threat, Sinha said the police commissioner has communicated to him that the accused will be 100 per cent safe and secure.

At this, Dave said, "Today, we have witnessed a complete failure of law and order situation."

When Sinha said that the accused would be medically examined in the Patiala House court complex itself, the court questioned him, "why medical examination there?"

Sinha also told the bench that Kanhaiya Kumar has given a hand-written application before the magistrate and has explained certain things.

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