Approach High Courts with material facts, SC tells petitioners in Citizenship protests case


File photo - Supreme Court of India

File photo – Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court Tuesday declined to set up a committee of a retired apex court judge to inquire into the incidents of violent protests in different parts of the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and said that such panels may be appointed by the high courts concerned.

It directed all the petitioners to approach high courts in respective states, where the incidents of violence have occurred, for redressal of their grievances and the setting up of inquiry committees.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde noted in its order that each fact alleged by the petitioners is disputed, on behalf of the Centre, by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

The bench said two main concerns of the petitioners have been that the students were indiscriminately arrested and they are injured and not getting proper medical treatment.

However, the Solicitor General stated that only two students from Aligarh Muslim University have been hospitalised and they are being treated in the University hospital itself and they were not injured by the police, which was contested by the petitioners.

Taking note of the allegations and counter-allegations, the bench also comprising justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant said: “Regarding the nature of the dispute and the incidents that have occurred we find it appropriate to appoint single committee in each state to collect the material for fact-finding and we, therefore, consider this appropriate to direct the petitioners to approach the high courts of jurisdiction of incidents said to have occurred.

“We are confident that the Chief Justices of various high courts will call upon for inquiry if needed while appointing a committee including a former judge of the apex court or high court after hearing the union of India and respective states”

The bench clarified that it is needless to say that “High Court will be at liberty to pass appropriate order with regard to arrest and medical treatment if brought to its notice after verification”.

The bench noted that serious grievance has been raised by the petitioners that Vice-Chancellors of the Universities were being ignored by police while taking action against the students.

The bench also took on record that this fact is also denied by Solicitor General.

“We are sure that high court will look into all the aspects of the matter after hearing both sides and appointing an appropriate committee to determine the fact-finding”.

The Solicitor General made a categorical statement that no student had been arrested so far.

However, he said he cannot make any statement about the future.