February 20, 2016

India: BJP Goons & Lawyers who assaulted people at the Patiala house courthouse remain unrepentant; a legal petition against them is being heard

O P Sharma questioned for 8 hours on Patiala House assault, may lose Assembly membership for 'sexist' remarks

Feb 20, 2016 02:27 IST
New Delhi: In more trouble for BJP MLA OP Sharma, the Ethics Committee of Delhi Assembly has decided to recommend stripping off his membership of the House in connection with a case of hurling “sexist” comments on a woman AAP legislator.
BJP MLA OP Sharma assaulting a CPI(M) activist in New Delhi on Monday. PTI
BJP MLA OP Sharma assaulting a CPI(M) activist in New Delhi on Monday. PTI
The move comes days after the Viswas Nagar MLA was caught on camera beating a CPI activist in the Patiala House court complex when JNUSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar was being brought. Sharma was arrested on Thursday and later released on bail.
In his reaction to the recommendation by the Ethics Committee, Sharma called the move “an attack on democracy”, adding, he had an indication about such a possibility five months ago as the panel has only AAP MLAs.
In the middle of Winter session of the Assembly in November last year, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had suspended Sharma for rest of the session for using derogatory language against AAP MLA Alka Lamba inside the House. Goel had also referred the matter to the Ethics Committee of the House for further probe.
The BJP wondered how a confidential report was “leaked” and that it may seek legal recourse on the matter.
Sources said the Ethics Committee of the House has decided to recommend expulsion of the BJP MLA from the Assembly in connection with the case. The committee will meet on Monday again and is expected to discuss the issue.
The sources said the committee’s recommendations in the case are likely to be tabled during the Budget Session of the assembly next month. The House is likely to take a final decision on Sharma’s membership.
They further said that the Committee has held that BJP legislator is a “habitual offender” besides being “unapologetic” over his “misbehavior”.
“The Committee in its several meetings had given Sharma an opportunity to apologise to Lamba, but he refused to do so. Since Sharma refused to apologise to Lamba, the committee has concluded that his conduct is unbecoming.
“In view of this, the committee will recommend that the BJP legislator be expelled from the Delhi Assembly,” a sources said.
Slamming the move, Sharma said, “I had an indication about the move five months ago because the committee consists of AAP MLAs. The recommendation to expel me from the Delhi Assembly is an attack on democracy.”
In December, the Delhi Assembly had passed a resolution on recovering Rs 18,560 from Sharma’s salary towards the cost incurred in replacing a mike he had damaged during the Budget Session and warned him not to repeat such action.
Sharma was caught on camera beating a CPI activist at Patiala House court complex on Monday. He was arrested for the assault yesterday and released on bail.
He was questioned for around eight hours at the Tilak Marg police station in connection with the case.
Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Vidhan Vijender Gupta came down heavily on the Ethics Committee, wondering how content of a confidential report became public before it was placed in the house.
“It cannot be placed in public domain until and unless it has been put before the House. This is a serious breach of Privilege of the Vidhan Sabha,” he said adding BJP will seek judicial intervention into the illegal recommendation of the panel.

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[Indian Express, 18 Feb 2016]

In pics: Lawyer who led Patiala House assault poses with top BJP leaders

Lawyer Vikram Singh Chauhan's Facebook page, which has more than 300 likes, says that he is a "worker of BJP".

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The Telegraph - February 17 , 2016

SC to hear plea on court assault and shield

New Delhi, Feb. 16: The Supreme Court today said it would take up tomorrow a plea after the lawyer of a JNU alumnus sought an urgent hearing.
A petition by N.D. Jayaprakash, filed after yesterday's court violence, sought adequate protection for Kanhaiya Kumar and others who turn up for future hearings in the sedition trial against the arrested JNU student leader.
The petition also contended that Monday's "brazen" assault on journalists and visitors at the Patiala House Courts complex, where police were to produce Kumar but couldn't, amounted to both "criminal contempt of court" and violation of the right to life and liberty under Article 21.
Violence in a court complex can "never be permitted or countenanced", Jayaprakash, a JNU alumnus and an advocate, said in his petition that also made it clear he was not in any way questioning the "merits of the case".
A bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur said the court would take up the matter tomorrow after senior counsel Indira Jaising, who appeared for Jayaprakash, an alleged victim of the violence, sought an "urgent" hearing. The matter has been listed as item number one before a bench to be headed by Justice J. Chelameshwar.
The violence had broken out around 2pm when a group of lawyers targeted journalists and teachers who had gathered in the courtroom of metropolitan magistrate Lovleen, waiting for the police to produce JNU students' union president Kumar, arrested on the charge of sedition. The rampaging lawyers slapped, punched and abused their victims, as Delhi police constables stood by.
"The atmosphere was so surcharged that even women journalists were not spared...," the petition said, adding that over a dozen journalists "sustained injuries", while their mobile phones were "snatched, broken or stolen to prevent them" from reporting the violence.
"(The) police were a mute spectator to this brazen display of violence and brute force being perpetrated on innocent persons who had gathered on the court premises," it said, contending that the "State and the police" had a "constitutional obligation" to ensure the safety and security of citizens".
What happened yesterday, Jayaprakash added, was a "crude affront to the rule of law and violation of Article 21" and also amounted to "denial of access to justice".
Jayaprakash said the violence "initially broke out inside the court" before spilling over into the adjacent areas of the court complex as people started "running to save themselves from the brutality of lawyers and outsiders, which included several politicians".
So vicious was the atmosphere that it was "not possible to even produce the accused" in the court, the petitioner said. Kumar was later sent to police remand for two more days at a hurriedly convened court session at Hauz Khas police station.
Jayaprakash sought directives to Delhi police and the Union government to ensure the safety and security of persons inside the court premises during Kumar's trial.
"It is respectfully submitted... that no question about the merits of the case of the students or teachers is being raised...," he said. "This petition merely seeks to assure the safety of the accused... (and) lawyers and journalists while discharging their... professional obligations."
Jayaprakash said judicial functioning required a "congenial atmosphere" as the petition requested an "appropriate writ, order or direction" to ensure that the proceedings against Kumar were carried out in a manner that was "not prejudicial to the fundamental rights" of people attending the proceedings.
It also sought a directive for "appropriate action" against anyone who obstructs the proceedings at future hearings in the case and an order to "safeguard the CCTV footage in and around" the court.

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daily O

Scariest day of my life: First-person account of Patiala House Court assault

As I saw fellow journalists being beaten up by an angry mob till they turned on me, the Delhi Police just silently watched.

Sneha Agrawal
Sneha Agrawal