The Delhi High Court on Friday said it would refer to a committee the matter of chants of “Shame! Shame!” erupting in Chief Justice DN Patel’s court the day before after a hearing on the recent violence at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Bar and Bench reported.
The students’ lawyers and others raised the slogan after the bench led by Patel refused to provide Jamia students interim protection from arrest and other coercive action. The students, who are protesting against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, had also sought judicial inquiry into the police assault on students on the Jamia campus on the night of December 15.
On Friday, several advocates – some of whom represent the government –urged the High Court to take suo motu action against the petitioners’ lawyers. Senior advocate Chetan Sharma said the incident was “against the majesty of the court”. “It has to stop...we may have our emotions and convictions but this is not the way it is done.” The lawyers said CCTV cameras in the courtroom should be checked to identify those who chanted “shame”. “They must tender an apology or face action,” they added. The Bar Association and the Bar Council of India also condemned the incident.
In response, Chief Justice DN Patel said: “It will go to the committee and we will take action”.
The violence at Jamia on December 15 had erupted following a protest march by the university students against the citizenship law. The rally turned violent after buses were set on fire. The police detained around 100 students from the campus, and released around hours later. Videos shared on social media suggested that police officials used guns during the crackdown, and allegedly shot at protestors. However, the police have categorically denied firing at protestors. Days later, the police said students from Jamia were not involved in the violence.
After the Jamia incident, protests against the Act spread to many parts of India. On Thursday, at least two people were killed in clashes with the police in Mangaluru in Karnataka, and one died in Lucknow.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to persecuted minorities from six religious communities – except Muslims – from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It has been decried as anti-Muslim, and protestors from Northeastern states have claimed that the Act will erode their ethnic identities.