The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the pleas against police action on students at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh should be referred to relevant High Courts, Bar and Bench reported.
The top court also refused to set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the police action against students. “Having regard to the nature of the matter and dispute and the vast area over which the matter is spread, we do not think it is feasible to appoint one committee for this,” the court said.
The bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde directed the petitioners to approach the High Courts within whose jurisdiction the incidents took place. Bobde insisted that the facts of the case need to be established before lower courts first, and the top court should have the benefit of High Court orders.
The bench said High Courts may appoint former judges of the Supreme Court to conduct inquiries after hearing the Centre and the concerned state government.
“We are confident that the chief justices of various High Courts will call upon for inquiry, if needed, while appointing a committee including a former judge of the apex court or High Court after hearing the Union of India and respective states,” the bench said, according to PTI.
The court added that the High Courts will be “at liberty to pass appropriate order with regard to arrest and medical treatment if brought to its notice after verification”.
Opposing arguments by advocates Indira Jaising and Colin Gonsalves, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that no student had been arrested and 67 persons, including students and other miscreants, had sustained injuries. Several police personnel also sustained injuries, he said.
“Students were take to the hospital, given medical care and no money was charged,” Mehta claimed. “In some time, Jamia University officer came and he identified the students and took them.”
Mehta said the police had to use tear gas shells to disperse the crowd, but one of the protestors picked up the shell and tried to throw it back when it exploded. This was the reason for injuries, he claimed.
Arguing for the petitioners, Gonsalves said Jamia was now in a better state, but the situation at Aligarh Muslim University was disturbing, with several students sustaining severe injuries.
On Monday, the top court had refused to take up urgent hearing of the plea and had warned that they will not hear anything on the matter if the violence continued and property was destroyed. Jaising and Gonsalves had mentioned the police crackdown at the two universities on Sunday evening before a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde. They asked the court to send retired judges to the two universities to investigate the incident.
The violence broke out on Sunday evening after a protest march by Jamia students ended in a pitched battle with the Delhi Police. Buses were set on fire, and several students and police officers were injured. The police have been accused of using excessive force and even assaulting students.
Police had also entered the Aligarh Muslim University campus on Sunday evening after a clash broke out between them and students. They baton-charged students and used tear gas shells on them.
Following this, protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act and the alleged police brutality against the students swept campuses across India on Monday.
The police action has also triggered a controversy as questions are being raised about the possible use of live bullets. The medical superintendent of government-run Safdarjung Hospital said that two Jamia protestors who were admitted have sustained bullet injuries, contradicting police claims that they used “maximum restraint, minimum force” and did not use firearms.
The Congress and Left parties on Monday had demanded a judicial inquiry into violence at Jamia Millia Islamia University.