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Delhi HC attempts to save DU law faculty from degenerating into ‘last refuge of scoundrels’

Delhi HC chastises police for inaction on DU law campus lawlessness
Delhi HC chastises police for inaction on DU law campus lawlessness

The Delhi University's law faculty's practical immunity to campus violence and vandalism led the Delhi high court to issue stern warnings to the Delhi police yesterday, reported the PTI.

Delhi HC justices Siddharth Mridul and Najmi Waziri reprimanded the police for its inaction on the complaint of law faculty dean Ved Kumari that there were incidents of “unruly behaviour” with the faculty members and staff. The judges reportedly asked the police:

What were you (police) waiting for? Were you waiting for people to come to court and for fact-finding reports? Why did you not carry out an independent probe? Is police outsourcing everything? What have you done in the last eight months apart from transferring the case to another agency

They also told the police:

We don't want you to rely on someone else's report. You are not going to peg your report on someone else's. Your constitutional mandate is to function independently

Kumari had first complained to the commissioner of police, in December 2016, after a law faculty student who is also the president of a political party publicly threatened and insulted her and after a list of detained students had protested against their detention, according to this video coverage by ABP News. She told ABP News that the Delhi police had not taken action on her complaint.

The Delhi HC took up the case, on its own motion, on 23 May 2017, and in its order on 25 May the bench of justices Mridul and Waziri noted that there was “endemic lawlessness” on campus, and said:

We are pained to observe, as widely reported in the press, that the protests have erupted into violence on numerous occasions leading to vandalising of the office of the Dean and her intimidation in every manner possible. We are further saddened at the alleged inaction of the statutory authorities charged with the responsibility of maintaining and enforcing law and order.

The bench also noted in the 25 May order:

There is no manner of doubt that on particular occasion despite their presence at the spot, the police have not taken proper action, in accordance with law, against the violent protestors.

While setting the next hearing date in the case for 9 August, the court has warned the police that if it fails to file a detailed status report within the next two weeks, on the steps taken in the case, it will invite the “displeasure” of the court.

Standing counsel for the commissioner of the Delhi police, central government standing counsel Anil Soni and advocate Mohinder JS Rupal for the DU's vice chancellor and for Kumari are acting on the case.

Order (PDF)

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