New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear plea for initiation of contempt proceedings against three lawyers who were caught on camera admitting to have attacked JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and others when he was produced in the Patiala House Court complex last week.
“Let it be listed tomorrow (on Friday) before the bench concerned,” said a bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as counsel Prashant Bhushan mentioned the matter seeking an urgent hearing of the PIL by counsel Kamini Jaiswal.
Bhushan told the court that the bench of Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre has fixed March 10 for the hearing of plea by former JNU student ND Jaiprakash on the incident but sought an urgent hearing of the PIL also seeking SIT probe into it.
Several journalists, as also Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who has been arrested on sedition charges, were assaulted in the court premises on February 15 and 17.
Jaiswal, in the PIL filed on Wednesday has sought initiation of suo motu contempt against three lawyers – Vikram Singh Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma – for allegedly interfering in the administration of justice and wilfully violating the apex court’s February 17 order.
Alleging “complete inaction of Delhi Police” in the face of violence by a section of lawyers and others, the PIL has referred to the February 18 report by the six-member lawyers’ panel sent by the apex court on February 17 to take stock of the situation, the February 19 report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), a sting operation by a news channel and an eyewitness account of violence by a judicial officer.
The PIL said the three advocates were found to be leading an attack in two incidents as reported by the media and allegedly admitted by them in a sting operation. They have not only been identified but they also admitted to their involvement in the incidents of violence but still police did not make any attempt to arrest them, the petitioner contended.
The petition quoted a first-hand account by a journalist who talked about the blatant mockery of the judicial process and quoted the assailants as saying “Ab le aao SC ko apne saath, kahan gaya SC is waqt (Now bring the Supreme Court with you, where is the Supreme Court right now).”
“The atmosphere, to say the least, not being at all congenial, was surcharged, threatening, and frightening and police had completely failed in its duty to contain the atmosphere and crowd,” the petitioner said quoting the February 18 report by the lawyers’ panel submitted to the apex court.
It says despite the Delhi High Court registrar general asking Deputy Commissioner of Police Jatin Narwal to apprehend an unauthorised person on the court premises, he was allowed to escape.
The PIL also refers to the NHRC report of February 19 saying that the attack by some people dressed as advocates in the Patiala House court complex on February 17 on Kanhaiya Kumar “appears to be organised and pre-planned” and a “major security lapse”.
Referring to the sting operation by a TV channel, the PIL pointed out that the lawyers involved in the attacks admitted that these were “not spontaneous but in fact were pre-planned” and asserted they would repeat the same acts of violence when Kanhaiya is produced in the court again.
It has also pointed out that lawyer Yashpal Singh brazenly said that he would get a petrol bomb next time and would not leave Kanhaiya even if he was charged with murder.