New Delhi, Aug 14 : Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi on Friday told the Delhi High Court that university spaces are meant for educational purposes and not for engaging in disharmony.
“Universities are meant for education and are not for engaging in disharmony. Intervention (by authorities) is important when there is social disharmony,” Lekhi told a division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan while arguing on a batch of petitions related to the Jamia Millia Islamia campus violence in the wake of Citizens (Amendment) Act in December last.
He also argued that the petitions concerning the violence that broke out in and around the campus in December 2019 are “merely based on opinion and agenda”.
“To shift from right to wrong, there should be something relevant… the accuracy of newspaper reports cannot be attributed,” Lekhi averred.
“What works in political sphere cannot work in the legal sphere,” the ASG argued, while adding that petitioners have put grave allegations against Delhi Police merely on the basis of “hearsay”.
He also alleged that the petitioners collected information in bits and pieces and collated it in a manner that suited their motives.
While justifying the entry of police in the Jamia campus on the night of the violence, the ASG said that the same was necessary. “They say police was aligned with a particular community and entered without permission. This is a self- serving accusation,” he told the bench.
The senior law officer also said that merely because the place of incident is a university space, terming any action taken there as unwarranted is utterly faulty. “Even students can commit a wrong. As long as a crime is committed, intervention by an agency is warranted,” he said.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on August 21.
During previous hearing, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves had submitted that the police brutality unleashed on the Jamia students was “to tell the students to drop the idea of going to Parliament”.
“The beating was really serious and severe like the police was going against their enemies. Students are not certainly enemies. I suppose this was to tell the students that they should forget the idea of marching to Parliament,” said Gonsalves.
He further questioned why the police aimed at the heads of the 18- to 19-year-old students while beating them. “What was the purpose?”
Senior counsel Salman Khurshid, appearing for another petitioner, supported Gonsalves’ argument that the police action was intended to stop the students from holding a march to Parliament, adding that while police can regulate such a march, but police decided to not allow it at all in their case.
The petitions include the one filed by Nabila Hasan who sought action against “ruthless, and excessive use of force and aggression unleashed by police and paramilitary forces on students” within the university.
The petitioners have sought registration of FIRs against the erring police officers.