A Delhi court on Monday gave the state government time till July 23 to decide on granting sanction to prosecute former Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar and his co-accused in a 2016 sedition case, PTI reported.
The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government had last week told the Patiala House Court that it needed a month’s time to decide whether to grant sanction to prosecute. At a subsequent hearing on April 5, the Delhi government claimed that the police had filed the chargesheet in the sedition case in January “secretly and in a hasty manner without sanction from competent authority”.
Additional Public Prosecutor Vikas Singh told the court last week that the government is looking into the matter and awaiting the opinion of its Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra. The government further said that they needed time to decide whether the accused’s actions amounted to sedition.
On January 14, the police had filed a chargesheet naming student activists Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya in the sedition case involving an on-campus protest in February 2016. The other accused include Kashmiri students Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rasool and Bashir Bhat. On January 19, the court criticised the police for filing the chargesheet without the approval of the Delhi government. The court also later censured the the AAP government for delaying the process of granting sanctions.
Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya were arrested in February 2016 on sedition charges for their involvement in a protest in which several students allegedly shouted “anti-national” slogans. The protest, which was against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, had led to outrage by Hindutva groups.