JNU sedition case: Delhi court takes cognisance of chargesheet against Kanhaiya Kumar, others

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  A Delhi court has taken cognisance of a charge-sheet filed by the Delhi Police against former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) President Kanhaiya Kumar and 9 others in a 2016 sedition case and summoned them to face trial on March 15. Kumar and others, including former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, are accused of raising anti-India slogans during an event in the University. 

The other seven accused named in the charge-sheet are Kashmiri students Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat and Basharat, some of them were then studying in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia at that time.  Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Pankaj Sharma on Monday took the cognisance of the final report almost a year after the Delhi Police has received requisite sanctions to prosecute the accused. 

“After careful perusal of the charge-sheet and consideration of the material, all the accused persons are summoned to face trial for the offence… Accused persons be summoned through investigating officer for March 15. Copy of this order be also sent to all the parties through email/Whatsapp,” the judge said in his order. The accused have been charged with offences under sections 124A (sedition), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 143 (punishment for being a member of an unlawful assembly), 149 (being a member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

Under the law, the maximum punishment for sedition is life imprisonment. As many as 36 others, including then JNUSU vice- president Shehla Rashid, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja’s daughter Aprajita, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Banojyotsna Lahiri—all former students of JNU—have been named in column 12 of the charge-sheet due to insufficient evidence against them.

A case was registered on February 11, 2016, under sections 124A and 120B of the IPC against unidentified people at the Vasant Kunj (North) Police Station, following complaints from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Maheish Girri and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS.