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Last chance: Delhi High Court directs Delhi Police to file response on plea seeking SIT inquiry into Jamia violence

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The Delhi High Court told the Delhi Police that it was granted the last chance to submit its response on a petition filed by the students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), seeking probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the atrocities allegedly committed by police during a march against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December, 2019.

While directing the Police to file its response within a week, the Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh fixed December 13 as the next date for hearing in the case.

Representing the students, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves told the Court that they were organising a peaceful march, but the police attacked them mercilessly, fractured their bones and one student even lost eyesight.

However, the Bench noted that since the pleas were filed at the time when students were attacked, some of the reliefs demanded might have become infructuous.

Justice Mridul said that the only reliefs that now survive will relate to monetary compensation to injured students and a court-monitored committee headed by a retired judge to investigate the violence.

The High Court ruled that it will only adjudicate on these issues.

Jamia Millia Islamia in 2019 was involved in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and later in the National Register of Citizens (NRC). It was back then that the Delhi Police officials allegedly entered the University campus and library without permission and thrashed the protesting students.

Several petitions were then filed in the Delhi High Court seeking action against the Delhi Police for its alleged role. The petitioners asked for an independent probe into allegations of police brutality, along with compensation for those who suffered serious injuries during the incident.

The pleas were put for hearing before the Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, which was apprised that the Supreme Court had passed an order on October 19, requesting the High Court to decide the matters soon because they have been pending since 2019.

On October 28, the High Court had listed the batch of petitions in the matter before a Division Bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul.

Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Rajat Nair, who appeared for the State, had informed the Court that the matters before court were inextricably linked to the batch of matters related to the hate speeches delivered in Delhi during the CAA/NRC protests, which allegedly led to the riots in February, 2020.

The lawyer also said that these matters were already pending before the Division Bench II (Justice Mridul’s court) and therefore, it should be transferred there as well.

SPP Nair added that Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi was arguing the matter, but since he has now demitted office, it has been assigned to ASG S.V. Raju.
Following the Supreme Court orders to hear the matters pending for the past three years and considering the points raised by SPP nair, the High Court transferred the matters to the Division Bench headed by Justice Mridul.

(Case title: Nabila Hasan & Ors vs Union of India & Anr)

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