JNU Violence: Delhi Court Refuses Early Hearing Due to COVID-19

On 5 January, masked men armed with sticks and rods attacked students & teachers and damaged property on the campus.

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A Delhi court has refused to grant an early hearing on a petition filed by JNU professor Sucharita Sen seeking registration of FIR against the masked mob which had allegedly attacked her during the campus violence on 5 January.

Duty Magistrate Vasundhra Chhaunkar, in an order passed on Tuesday said that only "urgent matters" will be taken up due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

"The reasons for preponement of the application...of the complainant are not found to be plausible. Further, in the present condition posed due to COVID-19 pandemic, the courts are to take only the urgent matters," the judge stated.

The court added, “It is beyond the comprehension of the court as to what prejudice will be caused to the complainant if already pending not preponed.”

The Delhi Police had recently filed a status report asserting that investigation of the FIR already registered regarding the mob violence at JNU was in progress and the Delhi High Court has already directed the investigating agency to expedite the matter.

Sucharita Sen, a professor at JNU's Centre for Study of Regional Development, had received injuries in her head after a mob unleashed violence in the campus earlier this year.

On 5 January, masked men armed with sticks and rods had allegedly attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus.

Sen had sought lodging of FIR by asserting that the evidence in the case is in the nature of data, which can be tampered with and that four months have elapsed since the act.

In January, pursuant to the attack, Sen had filed a complaint with the Station House Officer (SHO), Police Station Vasant Kunj North, and sought registration of the FIR for offence such as attempt to murder, rioting and mischief but "no action was taken by the police authorities."

Sucharita, through advocates Adit S. Pujari, Tara Narula and Kriti Awasthi, then moved the court on 13 January seeking registration of FIR, following which the police was directed to file an action taken report by 25 March but the matter was later adjourned till June due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She had then moved the application seeking FIR to be immediately registered on account of orders passed by the Delhi High Court in January directing an expeditious investigation.

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