On March 26, Delhi University’s Law Faculty cancelled a talk by Prashant Bhushan scheduled for Saturday at 11 AM. In the notice, the department cited unmanageable behaviour of the students as the reason for the last-minute cancellation. Bhushan was scheduled to talk on “Challenges to Indian Constitution” at the university.
After the event was cancelled, Bhushan cried foul and alleged there was pressure from the government to cancel the event. However, he arrived at the campus for his scheduled talk, and gave his speech on the road outside the Law Faculty Campus.
Authorities claim students’ behaviour was unmanageable
Usha Tandon, Law Faculty Dean, Delhi University, issued the notice cancelling the talk. In the notice, she said, “This is to notify that the permission to hold the program organised by some students of CLC (Campus Law Centre) relating to ‘Challenges to Indian Constitution’ to be held today stands cancelled. As per the decision of the meeting of the Committee on Seminar and Conference Rooms Booking, the cancellation is in light of the developments and the unmanageable behaviour of the students since March 25, 2022.”
Rajni Abbi, Proctor, refused the allegations that Bhushan was the reason behind the cancellation. She said the students created a ruckus on Saturday and had an altercation with the Police. She said, “Yesterday, the students created a ruckus. They had an altercation with Police and misbehaved with me… I don’t think in any reasonable manner we could have handed over the keys to them yesterday. If something untoward happened at night if they got drunk, who would have been responsible? They created a huge problem in the library; they were banging doors. Because of this, we decided to cancel. If students misbehave, they will not be allowed whether it is Prashant Bhushan or anyone else in the country.”
‘If the event got cancelled, the speaker should not have given speech.’
Abbi further added Bhushan’s decision to give a speech outside the hall on the road was wrong. She said no matter who the speaker was, it was not fair to him that the event got cancelled. However, on the other hand, his decision to deliver the speech despite the authorities’ decision to cancel the event was wrong. “The speaker, regardless of who it is, should also have thought that if permission was denied, should he have delivered the lecture there? He also did the wrong thing by standing on the road and delivering a lecture,” she said.
Students alleged they were not given keys on time
On the other hand, the students who organised the event alleged that they were not handed over the keys on time. Indian Express quoted one of the organisers saying they wanted to clean the room as it was closed for two years. When they did not get the keys, they started to protest. Notably, the authorities had to call the Police to control the students.
The students alleged they were informed during the ruckus that the event was cancelled. On the contrary, Abbi, while speaking to PTI, said it was against the rules to give keys to the students a day before the event.
Bhushan blamed ‘political bosses’ for the cancellation of the event
Bhushan has been crying foul since the event got cancelled. He has alleged that soon the event was publicised, the ‘political bosses’ would have instructed the university authorities to cancel the event as he was scheduled to speak at the event. He visited the University as per schedule and met the students who had organised them. With the absence of the auditorium, the lawyer-activist addressed the students on the road outside the law college.
“I went today because it was my duty and responsibility to meet the students and talk to them since their permission had been cancelled without any good reason,” he claimed.