Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested in sedition case, moved the Delhi High Court seeking bail on Friday. His bail plea will be heard on the coming Monday, say media reports which also point to a whole new angle - Kanhaiya Kumar is not focusing on just the bail, he is going to challenge the arrest itself.
The Supreme Court today transferred the bail plea of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar to the Delhi High Court and asked it to expeditiously deal with the matter, while declining to entertain the petition saying its direct intervention will be a dangerous proposition.
"You are leading a dangerous proposition. If this court will entertain it, it will become a precedent which will be available to all the accused in the country. Wherever there will be sensitive cases involving political persons or prominent persons or others...You know the atmosphere in the court."
The student union leader moved the bail application two days after a lower court sent him to judicial custody till March 2.
Kanhaiya’s lawyers Sushil Bajaj and Vrinda Grover, who were escorted by Delhi Police, directly went to the high court’s listing Registrar Loren Bamniyal and mentioned the petition behind closed doors. The Hindustan Times reports that the Delhi High Court will hear the plea Monday, 22 February. The Times of India reports that Kumar's legal team is going one step further and questioning the basis of his arrest itself.
"So in every case if it is said that Supreme Court is only the court, it would be a dangerous precedent," a bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre said.
Further, it said, "Remember, this is not the only case of this type."
While transferring the bail plea of Kanhaiya, who has been charged with sedition, the bench took an assurance from Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that in the "prevailing extraordinary situation" pertaining to this matter, the Government of India and the Delhi Police Commissioner would provide adequate safety and security to the accused and a stream of lawyers who will be appearing in the High Court.
The bench also said that the counsel for all the parties would be given preference while entering into the court room at the High Court and the Registrar General would be responsible for limiting number of people to be allowed to enter inside.
The bench which asked the High Court to expeditiously deal with the matter did not give any specific date for listing it.
The Supreme Court permitted the counsel for Kanhaiya to amend his petition, which is to be filed shortly in the Delhi High Court.
The apex court was not in agreement with the arguments advanced by a battery of senior advocates including Soli Sorabjee, Raju Ramachandran and Rajeev Dhawan that extra- ordinary law and order situation, threat to life of the accused and his counsel, hostile environment at the lower court and the simmering situation compelled them to rush directly to it.
The advocates also submitted that they moved the apex court for bail as already a writ petition concerning the arrest of the JNUSU President was pending before it.
However, their submission was objected to by the lawyers for Centre and Delhi Police, including SG Ranjit Kumar, ASG Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Ajit K Sinha, who said the facts of the writ petition and bail plea are different and even opposed it being heard directly by the high court.
The bench was also of the view, "What is under scrutiny is something different and the writ petition is to be heard on Monday. It is totally different than the bail application."
When the argument was made by Kanhaiya's counsel about the law and security situation, the bench said, "We do agree with you that it is an exceptionally extraordinary circumstance."
The counsel said that they preferred the apex court to hear his bail plea as the situation in the High Court also would not be much different, to which the bench asked, "Is it so in the high court? Are we to understand that the HC is also agitated?"
While concluding the one-and-a-half-hour hearing, the bench said, "We permit them to make and amend the bail application today itself.
With PTI & IANS