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Umar, Anirban’s rustification stay extended by HC

  • In what seemed as a very harsh punishment for expressing their concern over the conditions in India, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya slapped with rustification letters and further punishments. After much uproar about the harshness of the fines, the HC has now extended the interim the stay on Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) decision to rusticate Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya.

    Justice Manmohan put on hold the disciplinary action taken by JNU administration against the duo, accused of sedition in connection with a February 9 event, till their appeals are decided by the university's appellate authority.

    HC's relief came on a petition filed by the two students seeking the same relief granted by it on May 13 to Jawaharlal Nehru University students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar and other students facing disciplinary action taken by the varsity over the February 9 event this year. "This court is of the opinion that the petitioners are entitled to same order as passed by this court on May 13, 2016...," the court said.

    Both Khalid and Bhattacharya received differing fines and the degree of the harshness also varied. Khalid received a punishment of one semester rustification and 20,000 rupees fine, Anirban was rusticated till July 15 and barred from the university campus from July 23 for five years. This leaves Anirban with only a week to complete the thesis he is supposed to work on (July 16-22).

    HC had, on May 13, granted the relief to Kanhaiya Kumar and others after JNUSU had undertaken to immediately withdraw the hunger strike and not to indulge in any agitation. HC has made it clear that if JNU rejects the appeals filed by the students, the appellate authority's order would not be given effect for a period of two weeks.
     
    It said that protection granted to Khalid and Bhattacharya was conditional and the JNUSU would not indulge in any protest or 'dharna'. Khalid and Bhattacharya have said in their applications that they would be moving appellate authority against the disciplinary action.
     

    OUR TAKE

    While many think that the approach taken by the students of JNU could be termed nothing less than “extremists”, there are also many who think that extremists have shaped the future of this great nation from time immemorial. With the extension on the stay on the rustification, the HC has pledged to ensure te same level of justice for everyone. Along with this assurance, the HC also gets more time to investigate the case further and also come upon a final judgment.


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