Delhi HC Holds JNU Students’ Union in Contempt, Fines Rs 2000 Each
Justice Rao said the students violated court’s order on not to hold protests within 100 metres of the admin block.
The Delhi High Court slapped a fine on Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) office-bearers on Tuesday, 3 July, for “wilful disobedience” of judicial orders not to hold protests within 100 metres of the varsity's administrative block.
Justice VK Rao said the students have attempted to justify their conduct and have not express regret or remorse for violating the court’s 9 August, 2017 direction not to obstruct access to the administrative block and hold protests 100 metres away on the Sabarmati lawns inside the varsity campus.
The court said the manner in which its order was being interpreted by the students, it appeared to be “an attempt to wriggle out of their contemptuous acts”.
It is not a case of non-compliance of order by mistake, inadvertence or by misunderstanding of meaning and purport of the order. This I say so, as the respondents (student union members) herein, are pursuing post-graduate studies. They are educated persons, surely knowing the purport or intent of the order passed by this court on August 9, 2017, which is clear and explicit.The court said
"The interpretation sought to be given to the order by the counsel for the respondents is only an attempt to wriggle out of their contemptuous acts. So it must be held, on the basis of the photographs and the admissions made by the respondents, that they did congregate/held protests in the administrative block, which was in willful violation of the order dated August 9, 2017," the court added.
The ruling imposing a fine of Rs 2,000 on each one of the student leaders came on a plea by the JNU seeking contempt action against them for violating the high court’s August order not to obstruct access to the administrative block.
The court disposed of JNU's plea, while directing that the fine amount should be deposited within two weeks with the Registrar General of the high court.
In its petition, filed through central government standing counsel Monika Arora, the university had claimed that the JNUSU office bearers had on 15 February violated the high court order while protesting against compulsory attendance norms.
It had alleged that the students had created a “threatening atmosphere” in the campus and carried out a mass signature campaign against the mandatory attendance issue.
The JNUSU office bearers have denied the allegations.
The students had on 15 February allegedly blocked the administration building demanding a meeting with the Vice Chancellor on the issue of compulsory attendance and had allegedly stopped the two officials from leaving.
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