On Monday, 6th July, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan of Supreme Court heard multiple petitions against violence that took place in and around Jamia Millia Islamia University during anti-CAA protests on the evening of 15th December 2019. The petitioners asked for an independent inquiry into the violence that broke out at Jamia Milia Islamia University. SG Tushar Mehta appeared for the Delhi Police while senior advocate Colin Gonsalves appeared for the petitioners.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta objected to the language used in certain portions of the pleadings. He said that the petitions suggest that the Home Minister has ordered police to beat the students and break their bones mercilessly. The pleadings say that there is a common opinion that police had instructions from the top to beat the students.
Allegations without evidence look good only in speeches not in affidavits
SG Mehta said that without any evidence, the petitioners could not make such a claim against the constitutional authorities. “Such allegations cannot be made before a constitutional court,” He added. The allegations that are without any evidence should be removed from the pleadings. SG submitted that such allegations might look good in the public speeches but not an affidavit filed before a constitutional court.
The Court asked Senior Advocate Gonsalves to consider deleting the objectionable content from the petitions. When Justice Jalan asked SG Mehta if the objection had to be decided at a preliminary stage, he replied that it could be decided at the stage of hearing.
Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid, who was appearing for the petitioners, asked the court if there can be a consolidated list of petitions and counter-affidavits, which was supported by Advocate Indira Jaising. In the final order, the court asked to submit a consolidated list of issues, and categorically asked that the objectionable content without any evidence should be removed from the petition.
Anti-CAA protests, Jamia Violence and Delhi Riots
The Jamia Milia Islamia violence took place in the background on anti-CAA protests on the evening of 15th December. There were allegations that the police attacked unarmed students studying in the library and beat them up. It was alleged that the police broke the furniture in the library as well. However, later video evidence showed that the rioters who were pelting stones on police were hiding in the Library taking cover as students.
Anti-CAA protests that led to the Delhi riots in February caused the loss of lives and property across the country. Delhi police have submitted several charge sheets against conspirators like ex-AAP MLA Tahir Hussain, Shahrukh Pathan, Sharjeel Imam, Devangana Kalita, Safoora Zargar and many others.
The Supreme Court has set 13th July 2020 as the next date of hearing in the Jamia violence case.