JNU ‘sedition’ case: Delhi law minister issues notice to official for clearing prosecution sanction
AK Mendiratta had sent the law department’s view on prosecuting the university’s former students to the state home department without consulting Kailash Gahlot.
Delhi Law Minister Kailash Gahlot has issued a notice to state Principal Secretary (Law) AK Mendiratta for clearing the sanction to prosecute former Jawaharlal Nehru University students in a sedition case, PTI reported on Thursday. Mendiratta had sent the law department’s opinion to the state home department, which is under Satyendra Jain.
The Delhi Police had on January 14 filed a chargesheet in a local court against former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar and others in connection with alleged anti-national slogans chanted at the college in February 2016. However, on January 19, the court criticised the police for filing a chargesheet without the approval of the state government. The police said they had sought sanction for prosecution the Delhi government.
The police submitted the file related to the case to the Delhi government’s home department, which forwarded it to the law department for its opinion. Principal Law Secretary AK Mendiratta sent it back to the home department on January 18, PTI reported. On January 21, Gahlot told Mendiratta to explain his actions, and said the file will now have to be returned to the law department.
Gahlot, in his notice to Mendiratta on January 21, cited rules, saying that no decisions can be made or any opinion communicated to any other department without his approval. He also appraised Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajendra Menon of the matter, the Hindustan Times reported.
Gahlot said Mendiratta’s act of sending the file directly to Jain was “not only an act of insubordination but it appears to have been done intentionally so that the views of the law minister are not recorded on the file”.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that the law department is examining the Delhi Police’s file seeking sanction for prosecution. “I do not know whether Kanhaiya has committed sedition or not,” he tweeted. “This is being examined by the law department. On the other hand, [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi has stalled [sanction for] schools for children,hospitals, installation of CCTV cameras, setting up of mohalla clinics in Delhi – is this not sedition?”