Kejriwal Govt Gives nod to prosecute Kanhaiya Kumar
NEW DELHI : The Delhi government has given a go-ahead to the city police to prosecute left leader Kanhaiya Kumar and two others in connection with a 2016 sedition case, sources said on Friday.
The request for sanction had long since been pending before the home department of the Delhi government. In October, 2019, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Manish Khurana summoned the Investigating Officer for December 11 after the public prosecutor informed the court that the sanctions were still pending.
“Thank you to the Delhi government for granting permission for a sedition case. Police and government officials are urged to take this case seriously (and have a) speedy trial in a fast-track court to ensure justice in a court of law instead of a trial on television,” he posted in Hindi, adding, “Satyameva Jayate”.
Kumar took a sarcastic swipe at Delhi Police this evening, hours after the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in the national capital permitted his prosecution in a long-pending sedition case. Taking to Twitter he said “thank you” and asked his trial to be fast-tracked “in a court of law, rather than one on TV”.
The court had on September 18 asked the Delhi government to decide within one month on the sanction to prosecute Kumar and others, saying the delay has caused wastage of judicial time as the case had been listed and adjourned repeatedly since the filing of the charge sheet.
Concerns over misuse of sedition law were flagged by the Law Commission in a consultation paper in 2018, which said criticism of the country could not amount to sedition. It was pointed out that the United Kingdom, which originally introduced the section, had itself abolished such “draconian” laws
Reports in September, 2019, had said the Delhi government would not be granting the police sanction to prosecute the youth leaders. The state’s home department thinks that the students – including Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and nine others – should not be prosecuted because their activities “do not amount to sedition against the State”, the Indian Express had reported.
The evidence on record is “flimsy” and filled with “gaps”, the government has reportedly said, based on advice from standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra. On January 14, the police had filed a charge sheet against Kumar and others, including former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya.
The police had said they were leading a procession and had supported the seditious slogans allegedly raised on the campus during an event on February 9, 2016. Kanhaiya Kumar has since gone on to become a political leader of some prominence and had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Begusarai, on a CPI ticket.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari welcomed the decision and also took a swipe at Mr Kejriwal. “Keeping current political situation in mind, Chief Minister Kejriwal has finally given sanction prosecute Kanhaiya Kumar. We welcome the decision. We have been demanding (this)… let the law take its own course,” Mr Tiwari said.