A Delhi Court today warned an advocate, who sought lodging of an FIR alleging anti-national sloganeering at the Ramjas College in February, against mixing this incident with the JNU case in which sedition charge were slapped against some students. The JNU incident of February 2016 had hogged the limelight after the arrest of its student leaders, including then JNUSU President Kanahiya Kumar, while the Ramjas college case involved the raising of slogans and a clash between the students owing allegiance to the ABVP and Left organisations AISA and SFI. “Delhi Police FIR is not a precedent for me. It is not binding in this case, nor is it a Supreme Court ruling. JNU charge sheet is not relevant in this case. These are two different cases. Do not mix JNU matter with the DU case,” Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra said. The court’s remarks were aimed at advocate Vivek Garg, who had raised the Ramjas college incident and sought a direction to thge police to supply him a copy of the charge sheet filed in the JNU matter. The court, however, could not hear arguments due to the absence of the concerned police officials and posted the matter for arguments on the ingredients of sedition charge for September 14.
“ACP Pankaj Gupta has sought exemption from appearance due to official duties. Put up for arguments on September 14,” the magistrate said. Garg, who could not argue today, submitted before the court that he needed the JNU charge sheet “as it is not available on internet. We need a copy of the FIR also to argue in this case.” The court had on August 29 observed that sedition charges cannot be pressed on the basis of an unauthenticated and unreliable video, after it was shown a footage of alleged “anti-national” sloganeering held on February 21 this year at the Ramjas College here. The magistrate had said that the authenticity of the video was to be ascertained by the police.
“Authenticity of the video is not established. What is the source of this video? On the basis of unreliable material, how can we press charges of sedition? You have to be confident of the authenticity of the video,” the court asked complainant Vivek Garg, while also pointing out the existence of several doctored videos being in circulation. “Tomorrow if AISA and ABVP clash again, will it be termed as sedition? There are many doctored videos circulated on Whatsapp. These have to be verified,” it observed. The court was hearing Garg’s plea seeking a separate FIR into alleged anti-national slogans raised by members of students groups All India Students’ Association (AISA) and Students Federation of India (SFI) at the Ramjas College.
The plea, which sought registration of an FIR for alleged offences of sedition, criminal conspiracy, waging war against the State and defamation under the IPC, also demanded action against Delhi Police officials for not lodging the complaint. The police had on August 3 submitted an action taken report in the matter and said it was examining students and teachers to identify the culprits involved in the Ramjas College clashes that broke out between the ABVP and Left- affiliated student bodies. In the report, the police had said they had lodged an FIR at the Maurice Nagar police station on February 22 for the alleged offences or rioting and obstruction, causing hurt and assault to deter public servant from discharging duty.
However, the complaint had alleged that “anti-national slogans/activities were being carried out by leaders/students of AISA/SFI in Ramjas College, shamelessly and openly which supported India’s enemy Pakistan. The criminal acts of accused were also boosting the morale of terrorists against our country.” On February 21, members of RSS’ student wing ABVP had gathered outside the college and shouted slogans in protest against the seminar for which JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid were invited. The ABVP members allegedly pelted stones, vandalised the venue and disrupted the seminar. The next day violent clashes had erupted between the Left and the ABVP students leaving several of them and three teachers injured.