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Above: Former JNUSU president and student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and others were facing disciplinary action by the university administration

The Delhi High Court on Thursday (October 12) set aside the disciplinary action taken by the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) high level enquiry committee (HLEC) against 15 students including student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. Justice V Kameshwar Rao said that the issue will be decided after it is heard afresh, including the students’ version.

In giving this judgment, the court extracted a commitment from the students that they would not engage in any protest, strike or dharna.

Those let off were Aishwarya Adhikari, Gargi Adhikari, Komal Mohit, Anwesha Chakrabarty, Aswathi A Nair, Rubina Saife, Reyajul Haque, Anand Prakash Narayan, Chintu Kumari, Mujeeb Hussain Gattoo, Shweta Raj, Ashutosh Kumar, Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya and Umar Khalid.

The students had filed writ petitions challenging the university’s order following a report of the HLEC. They were also asked to withdraw their ongoing hunger strike and not indulge in any further agitation.

JNU had rusticated them on April 25, 2016. Umar had also been fined Rs 20,000 and Anirban barred from the JNU campus for five years from July 23, 2016. JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was fined Rs 10,000.

Earlier the high court had put on hold the university’s disciplinary action, including rustication, till their appeals against the order was heard and decided by the varsity’s appellate authority.

The issue had snowballed into a major controversy with the government taking sides against the students, calling the agitating students anti-national just because they had talked about “freedom”. Even professors of the institute had come out against the stand of the government and had said that freedom of speech was being severely curtailed.

Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya had been charged with sedition and arrested in connection with the February 9 event. They were granted bail, but the chargesheet has yet to be filed.

India Legal Bureau

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