Delhi HC seeks govt response on NHRC recommendations in Jamia Millia Islamia violence

Several students of Jamia Millia Islamia were allegedly attacked by the Delhi Police during the CAA protest in 2019.
Delhi HC seeks govt response on NHRC recommendations in Jamia Millia Islamia violence
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The Delhi High Court on Monday, January 22, sought the response of the city government on the recommendations by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its 2020 report concerning the violence linked to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Jamia Millia Islamia in December 2019.

A division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain directed the Delhi government to submit its response within two weeks. The court is addressing a petition filed by various Jamia Millia Islamia students who accuse the Delhi Police of attacking them during the violence.

One of the petitioners, Nabila Hasan, a law student at the time, filed a complaint before the NHRC. The NHRC report characterised the protest as an "unlawful assembly" and suggested police action against it. Its recommendations included compensation for injured students and appropriate action against police officers found at fault.

The Delhi Police informed the court that none of the victims are presently traceable and asserted that commensurate force was used when students engaged in violence.

The court has listed the matter, along with related petitions concerning the violence, for hearing on March 14.

Last year, the Delhi Police had informed the High Court that footage from CCTV cameras available in areas near New Friends Colony and Jamia Nagar had been "duly preserved" and collected well in time. It made the claim in an affidavit in response to a plea submitted by Hasan, one of the petitioners, in the batch matter, asking for the retention of CCTV footage from all cameras inside Jamia Millia Islamia exclusively.

The petitioner had also sought that all persons who have been harmed or arrested by police or paramilitary forces receive proper financial compensation.

In its affidavit, the Delhi Police stated that CCTV footage from 13 locations in the New Friends Colony area was collected and sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Rohini for authentication. "After examination, the seized pen drives, DVRs were received back and a copy of the footage was supplied to the accused persons in FIR No. 242/19 PS New Friends Colony, New Delhi," the affidavit stated.

Regarding the demand for fair compensation, the police stated that Hasan's complaint had been included in an investigation by the NHRC into accusations of alleged atrocities committed by the police and paramilitary forces inside the Jamia campus.

The apex rights panel accepted the recommendations made by the NHRC investigation team after conducting a thorough and in-depth investigation. The recommendations stated that the Chief Secretary should give "suitable compensation to the injured students who received grievous injuries, commensurate with their injuries, on humanitarian grounds".

“It is submitted that as evident from the aforesaid direction passed by NHRC, the Chief Secretary, GNCT Delhi, was directed to provide suitable compensation to persons who have received grievous injuries. It is submitted that the details of the compensation supplied by GNCTD are presently not available with the respondent Delhi Police and efforts to get the same from GNCTD are being made,” the affidavit added.

According to the police's affidavit, the Commission report itself states that Hasan "actively participated" in the proceedings before the NHRC and provided all of the information she had access to.

According to the affidavit, Hasan cannot request the same remedy before the HC while concealing the fact that she successfully obtained it before the NHRC.

Calling it an attempt to "abuse the process of law" and "equity jurisdiction" of the HC, the Delhi Police said that Hasan’s plea should be rejected with exemplary cost.

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