The Supreme Court has reportedly agreed to consider a plea for contempt action against three lawyers who were allegedly caught on camera boasting that they had thrashed JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar while he was in police lock-up.
In a video broadcast on a news channel, the lawyers can be seen claiming they thrashed Kanhaiya for around three hours while he was in police custody.
Police had issued notices to lawyers Vikram Singh Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma to join investigation, in connection with the violence in Patiala House court complex on February 15 and 17 in which JNU students, teachers and journalists were attacked.
One of the lawyers, Om Sharma, presented himself before police and was arrested. The other two are yet to appear.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court premises turned into a fortress on Tuesday morning, with dozens of police and court security personnel scanning ID cards at each entryway leading to courtroom 29. The entry into the courtroom itself was restricted, with security staff checking names of lawyers involved in the case off a list and not allowing even members of the Bar Association to enter the courtroom. Only six journalists were allowed inside, with their mobile phones remaining outside.
Justice Pratibha Rani issued notice to Delhi Police and asked for status report on the investigation by Wednesday, the next date of hearing.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi Police, said since it was a pre-chargesheet bail application, police should be allowed to file the status report in a sealed cover.
However, the court rejected the request and said: “No sealed cover is required. It’s just a bail application and the petitioners have the right to know (why police has opposed the bail).”
The high court also directed Delhi Police to give a copy of the status report to Kanhaiya’s counsel Rebecca John.
During the brief hearing, Aam Aadmi Party’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra sought to represent Delhi Police in Kanhaiya’s bail case. Additional Solicitor General’s Tushar Mehta and Sanjay Jain opposed the contentions of Mehra.
Mehta told the court that he and advocate Shailendra Babbar were appointed as special public prosecutor in the case by Lt. Governor.
“They (ASGs representing Delhi Police) have crossed all ‘Lakshman rekha’. As a standing counsel, I am not allowed to argue and they are here on LG’s unofficial order,” Mehra said.
Interestingly, Delhi Police had earlier said that it will not oppose if he applies for bail.
Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi had said, “We have adequate evidence against him (Kumar), but Police will not object to bail for Kanhaiya Kumar.”
Kanhaiya, who is in judicial custody till March 2, had approached the apex court directly seeking bail on the ground that his life was under threat in the Tihar Jail.