The Delhi High Court has asked the police to keep away from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus unless there is any evidence of disruption of law and order or in case of varsity seeking its assistance.
The high court further said that the university is not a place where police is warranted. “They are students, not criminals,” it said, adding that the police will only enter the varsity campus if assistance is sought by the JNU administration or after examining the appropriate evidence. Justice Vibhu Bakhru said this while disposing of the JNU administration’s plea for police protection for the varsity officials so that they can enter the administrative block at the time of protests by the students.
The JNU had alleged that during regular agitations carried out by the students in protest against the varsity’s policy decisions outside the administrative block, which were accompanied with drum beats, no one could enter the building.
The varsity through their lawyers Monika Arora and Harsh Ahuja said that JNU staff and Students Union (JNUSU) leaders be asked not to protest within 200 metres of the administrative block and the academic complexes as per the academic rules and regulations. Taking note of it, the court asked the JNU students not to protest within 100 metres radius of the administrative block, which houses several offices including that of the Vice Chancellor.
It also observed that the varsity has already earmarked a place for protest, therefore, the students should stage their ‘dharna’ at Sabarmati hostel lawns. “Why near the administration block?” the court asked the counsel for the students’ union. To this, the counsel said they won’t be visible at site of protest. The court said that protest was not for show off. It further said that the JNU administration, for the time being, can only install CCTV cameras in and around the administrative block, where the students stage protest, and at the campus main gate.
The varsity had also urged the court to allow them to install over 600 CCTV cameras in the campus in wake of several controversies involving students. The court was hearing the JNU administration’s petition against the blocking of its administrative block by agitating students.
Earlier, the JNU had said that in the past nine months there have been 92 protests in the campus and these were disrupting the functioning of the varsity. 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.