JNU Students Union to Delhi HC: Did not block access to admin block

Mar 14, 2018, 16:55 IST | PTI

The office bearers of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) have told the Delhi High Court that they have not violated its order on holding protests in the varsity as they did not block access to the administrative block

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The office bearers of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) have told the Delhi High Court that they have not violated its order on holding protests in the varsity as they did not block access to the administrative block.

They also submitted before the high court that its August last year direction to not hold protests within 100 metres of the admin block should not be viewed technically as the spirit of the direction was to prevent obstruction of any access to the building. The submissions were made before Justice V K Rao who is hearing a plea moved by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) seeking contempt action against the JNUSU office bearers for holding protests within 100 metres of the administrative block.

The varsity in its petition, moved through central government standing counsel Monika Arora and advocate Kushal Sharma, has contended that the office bearers have violated the high court's August 9, 2017 direction. The varsity in its plea has also claimed that the protesting students had obstructed access to the administrative block of JNU. The arguments in the matter remained inconclusive and are expected to continue tomorrow.

The JNUSU office bearers also told the court that other student bodies and associations as well as a teachers group have also held protests within 100 metres of the administrative block, but no action has been taken against them. Therefore, the 100-metre restriction should not be viewed technically, their lawyer told the court. The JNUSU office bearers had earlier told the court that the main reason behind the protests in the varsity was not holding of academic council meetings.

The court had on February 16, in an interim order, directed the JNU students not to obstruct the vice chancellor and other staff from entering the administrative block to carry out their work. The interim order was passed on JNU's plea that the protests near the administrative block was hampering its day-to-day functioning, including the disbursal salaries in connection with the Seventh Pay Commission.

The students had on February 15 allegedly blockaded the administration block demanding a meeting with the vice chancellor on the issue of compulsory attendance and stopped the two rectors from leaving the building. The court had in its August 2017 order also said that the university was at liberty to request police assistance to maintain law and order in the campus.

It had, however, made it clear that the order "should not preclude" the students from peacefully protesting at the Sabarmati lawn in the campus away from the administrative block. The August 2017 order had come during the hearing of the JNU administration's petition against the blocking of its administrative block by agitating students. The varsity had moved the high court when the students were protesting against the JNU's admission policy based on a University Grants Commission notification slashing the seats for MPhil and PhD courses.

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