The Delhi High Court today made it clear to the two JNU students, accused in the sedition case, that it cannot allow them to surrender in the manner they wished as it would amount to going by their ‘whims and fancies’.
“There are procedures under the statute which have to be followed,” Justice Pratibha Rani said while expressing her disagreement with the plea of JNU students – Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya – that they be given a safe passage and be allowed to choose the place of their surrender.
The judge said, “One should not exceed the scope of any petition and the prayer made in it” which included that the accused on surrender be sent to judicial custody by the High Court itself instead of producing them before a trial court.
“The remand proceedings have to be done by a trial court and it (high court) cannot go by their (the two petitioners’) whims and fancies.
“The moment the accused are arrested, he or she has to be produced within 24 hours before a trial court judge, who will decide the remand of the accused persons,” the judge said.
When advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for the students, argued for the need of safe passage to surrender, Justice Rani shot back “What do you mean, I should give you safe passage? Why this court (not trial court)? Let us go by the procedure.”
The two accused, who have been booked under sedition law for raising anti-national slogans on the campus, submitted they are constantly receiving “life threats” and police was not taking adequate measures to protect them.
The court, however, asked the two to mention a place for their surrender, other than the high court, confidentiality of which will be maintained.