Here is the main text of the High Court Order staying the punishments imposed by JNU on the basis of HLEC till the appeals filed by students are heard and disposed of:
At the outset, learned counsel for petitioners assure and undertake to this Court that JNUSU as well as its affiliated bodies would withdraw their pending strike and would not indulge in any strike or dharna or agitation in future in connection with the issues before this Court and/or till the legal proceedings pending as of date between the parties attain finality. They further assure this Court that discipline on the campus shall be maintained. However, they pray that they be given permission to make peaceful appeal/representation to the concerned authorities.
The statements, assurances and undertakings given by the learned counsel for petitioners as well as on behalf of JNUSU are accepted by this Court and petitioners are held bound by the same.
A perusal of the paper books reveal that all the petitioners have filed appeals against the impugned High Level Enquiry Committee report. Some of the petitioners have even filed stay applications for stay of the High Level Enquiry Committee report as well as the penalty imposed.
Since an appeal is continuation of the main proceedings and no date of hearing is fixed in the present appeals, this Court is of the opinion that the petitioners cannot be condemned unheard. Consequently, it directs that till the appeals of the petitioners and others who have filed the appeals or/are in the process of being filed, are heard and disposed of, the impugned orders shall not be given effect to.
To facilitate the petitioners to file alternate proceedings, in the event, appeals filed by the petitioners are rejected, the said appellate orders shall not be given effect to for a period of two weeks.
However, it is made clear that the protection granted by this Court is conditional upon the petitioners and JNUSU complying with their undertaking to this Court that they shall immediately withdraw their strike and would not indulge in any strike or dharna or agitation or coercive action in future in connection with the issues before this Court and/or till the legal proceedings pending as of date between the parties attain finality
Before parting with these cases, this Court would like to place on record its appreciation for the pragmatic stand taken by the counsel appearing for the parties.
With the aforesaid observations and directions, present writ petitions and applications stand disposed of.
Order dasti under the signature of the Court Master.
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY TEACHER’S ASSOCIATION
May 13, 2016
It is shocking to note that JNU Administration under the leadership of the VC squarely refused to reconsider the harsh penalties despite clamors from all quarters including global scientific and academic community. The vulnerable students were forced to seek respite from the court as deadline was looming large. JNUTA expresses its deep anguish and pain at the fact that JNU Administration completely failed in discharging its primary duty of resolving issues within the university. During the last three months JNU Administration adopted an insensitive approach towards students and teachers and its actions do not seem to be impartial.
The University for weeks remained unresponsive towards the genuine demands of teachers and students, forcing many students to go on indefinite fast. Even the worsening health conditions of students owing to indefinite hunger strike or the overwhelming sentiment expressed in Academic Council meeting could not make the VC act in a just and compassionate manner. It is only due to timely intervention by the honorable High Court that harsh penalties are put on hold.
In the current situation, JNUTA appeals to the students to end their hunger strike. The JNUTA assures the student community that it will continue to play its part in ensuring justice is done to all students and their legitimate democratic rights are protected.
On behalf of the JNUTA EC, we would like to congratulate all teachers for coming together and participating with courage and resolve in our collective protest against the serious onslaught from within and outside the university. The ways, in which our colleagues have spontaneously come forward to participate in meetings, protests and Hunger Strikeand contributed through their ideas and actions has inspired the JNUTA EC and given all of us immense strength. We must also at this point acknowledge and express our gratitude for the solidarity that we have been privileged to receive from the academic community in India and across the world as well as from citizens of this country across the spectrum of Indian society, both individually and through their organizations. The Alumni of JNU did contribute in numerous ways to protect the dignity, autonomy and freedom of expressionfor which the University has always been known.
JNUTA once again urges the Vice Chancellor to honour the opinions expressed in the Academic Council and resolve the issues at once by addressing various concerns in an impartial manner if he is serious about winning back the trust of the JNU community.
The General Body of the JNUTA expresses its deep anguish at the continuing recalcitrant attitude of the JNU Administration on the issue of the extremely harsh penalties imposed on students without a fair and impartial enquiry. The JNUTA has consistently maintained that the HLEC process and follow up actions lacked legitimacy and involved gross violations of the principles of natural justice. This was only compounded by the ultimate imposition of extremely severe penalties. The JNUTA reiterates its stand that these must be withdrawn.
The GBM further noted that the University Administration and the Vice Chancellor have so far failed to respect the overwhelming sentiment expressed against the harsh penalties in the meeting of the Academic Council held on 10th May 2016. Instead of considering this opinion, the VC chose to adjourn the meeting abruptly. Subsequently the press release tries to malign the three-month long democratic and peaceful struggle. The GBM unequivocally condemns these attempts and reiterates that it is the JNU Administration led by the VC which has precipitated the crisis in the University forcing an indefinite hunger strike by students for over two weeks.
While noting the VC’s statements that the penalties will not be immediately enforced, the GBM states that these do not address the fundamental concerns expressed by a very large number of the members of the Academic Council through the resolution adopted by them and submitted to the JNU Administration. The GBM demands that the JNU Administration forthwith implement this resolution. The GBM resolved that the University community is fast losing all confidence in the leadership of the University.
JNUTA GBM took note of the fact that the university has yet not started action against those found guilty in HLEC report as well as GSCASH report regarding the Burton’s case. It resolved to demand immediate action against those who falsely accused Dr. Burton when he was performing his assigned duty as warden.
It was shocking for the teachers to note that newly constituted House Allotment Committee does not have representation from JNUTA, JNUSA and JNUOA. The GBM resolved to draw attention of the administration towards this intended lapse and demand to correct it immediately by ensuring representation of each elected body of stakeholders.
It was resolved to communicate our protest to University about the uncalled for letter from COE asking ‘Answer Key’ before examination is over. It was protested on two counts one that it will open the possibility of motivated manipulation in examination and second that due procedure on arriving at a decision (Centre/school/AC/EC) is not followed before issuing any letter/circular.
It also resolves to reiterate the demands that were raised with the VC on 3rd May and subsequently again on 6th May.
The overwhelming sense expressed in the academic council meeting held on May 10, 2016 was that the whole range of punishments meted out to students is excessive and that the harsher punishments such as rustication, suspension, banishment from campus, and exorbitant fines should be immediately revoked.
We are distressed by the fact that no deference was shown by the Chair to the opinions expressed by AC members, and the Chair adjourned the meeting abruptly and unreasonably.
We, the members of the Academic Council, resolve that all unreasonable punishments arising from the February 9th incident are revoked.
We resolve that the VC immediately implement this resolution.
In view of the emergency situation on the campus, faculty members of the Academic Council of JNU demanded that the issue of the hunger strike in response to unjust punishment of students be the first item on the agenda. The Vice Chancellor adamantly refused this. His refusal was met with prolonged opposition by the AC members which eventually compelled him to agree to let the AC discuss the matter.
The overwhelming sense of the house was that the punishments are unjustified and excessive, and must be reconsidered. However, the VC was not willing to concede anything despite the hunger strike of the students entering the 13th day and many students being in serious condition. Instead of trying to resolve the crisis, the VC insisted that the matter could be discussed later.
In view of the emergency situation, the members of the Academic Council deeply concerned and argued that a resolution of the matter could not be postponed any further. However, the VC hastily adjourned the meeting and left.
Therefore, the first Academic Council meeting chaired by the new Vice Chancellor, Professor Jagadeesh Kumar, could not conduct any business. The responsibility for this lies squarely on the shoulders of the Vice Chancellor.
Subsequently, after the VC had left, the AC members passed a resolution regretting the VC’s adjournment of the meeting and stating that “the whole range of punishments meted out to students is excessive and that the harsher punishments such as rustication, suspension, banishment from campus, and exorbitant fines should be immediately revoked”. The AC members further resolved that the VC immediately implement this resolution.
Renowned and popular Dalit bands and artistes will be performing in Delhi on the eve of the march to Parliament House, organised by various Dalit organisations and workers’ associations under the aegis of Dalit Swabhiman Sangharsh.
Music conveys what slogans and speeches can’t. A new set of Dalit groups and artistes are now emerging, who unhesitatingly convey their experiences, grievances, anger as well and hope and expectations of all that they see around them.
Come and hear them at Article 14, which underscores the Right to Equality that exists in Law but needs reminding all the time. What these artistes sing, will stay with you, long after the evening is over.
You will be able to hear the following artistes:
Ginni Mahi is a 17-year old Punjabi singer, who has already cut two albums, Guran di Deewani and Gurparab hai Kanshi Wale da. She sings songs that talk of Dalit empowerment. With thousands of fans on Facebook and YouTube, Mahi has a single aim that she intends to achieve through her verses: promoting equality in society.
Shital Sathe is a well-known folk singer, poet and Dalit activist from Maharashtra. She is one of the lead singers of the famous troupe, Kabir Kala Manch. She has been prominently featured in Anand Patwardhan’s documentary film, Jai Bhim Comrade.
Sanjay Rajoura is a stand-up comic artiste who is known for his sharp political comments and views. He has performed globally and is recognised as one of the leading progressive voices in India’s stand-up comedy scene.
Sujat Ambedkar is a drummer and had his own band in Pune till he moved to Chennai where he is currently studying journalism.
Be it in Marathi, Punjabi, Hindi or English, familiarise yourself this new language — of resistance, power and a new India. Lend your support to these voices.
In appearance, the ongoing movement may be seen as being a protest against certain punishments. But at the core of this protest, at the essence of it, lies our resolve to protect free speech and our democratic space in this campus. Any acceptance of punishment on our part, even if in a modified form, would be an admission of guilt on our part. It would constitute a betrayal of the four decades of our students movement, that has built this space.
As the indefinite hunger strike against the high-level inquiry committee report at Jawaharlal Nehru University entered Day 15, various organisations wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking revocation of punishments given to the students in connection with the February 9 event on the campus.
Two days after the Delhi High Court issued a notice to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on the plea of two students rusticated by it, Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and seven others challenged the varsity’s disciplinary action against them in the Court on Thursday.
A recent order from the Controller of Examinations of the Jawaharlal Nehru University directs teachers to provide answers to questions to be asked in the entrance examinations to M.A. and M.Phil/PhD courses — before the exams are held. With examinations to the university scheduled to start on May 16, there is widespread apprehension that providing answers before the examinations are held virtually opened the door to possible leakage of question papers along with their answers.
In a university variously regarded as an ideal example of social inclusion to a Left bastion, this order is being resisted as it is seen to be tinkering with an examination process that has withstood the test of time in the manner in which it has been conducted over the years. Emails sent by The Hindu to the Vice-Chancellor, M. Jagadesh Kumar, and the controller of examinations, Professor H. Sharma, went unanswered.
The University for Weeks has witnessed a complete insensitivity towards the genuine demands of teachers and students. The situation worsened with students on indefinite hunger strike for more than 13 days. The health conditions of students continue to deteriorate. All clamors for justice and compassion from different stakeholders of JNU including retired and emeritus professors, alumni, JNUTA and students went unheard. Given the deteriorating health of students and the emergency situation, JNUTA requested the members of Academic Council to appeal to the Vice Chancellor to ensure welfare of concerned students. This demand was made as JNU’s statutes clause 16 point (xiii) empowers the AC to ensure ‘health and welfare of students’. The overwhelming majority of teachers in the Academic Council felt that the primary concern in the given circumstances was to ensure end of ‘Hunger Strike’, which is going on against draconian, unjust and disproportionate penalties based on HLEC, the credibility of which remains questionable. For the record, all that was said was that the issues related to current crisis be discussed and resolved before routine agenda items are taken up.
The persistent refusal of the Vice Chancellor made everyone feel helpless and scared of the worst eventuality as the “fast” continued even within the Academic Council (one member of AC was on fast for 13 days). Understanding the gravity of the situation, after repeated appeals the Vice Chancellor agreed to discuss and resolve the issue at hand. However, after about two dozen members in the Academic Council raised all the relevant issues with almost everyone pleading the VC to show mercy as the quantum of announced punishment is utterly disproportionate, he abruptly adjourned the AC Meeting leaving everyone astonished.
It was here when a vast majority of members (53) resolved the following:
The overwhelming sense expressed in the Academic Council meeting held on May 10, 2016 was that the whole range of punishments meted out to students is excessive and that the harsher punishments such as rustication, suspension, banishment from campus, and exorbitant fines should be immediately revoked. We are distressed by the fact that no deference was shown by the Chair to the opinions expressed by AC members, and the Chair adjourned the meeting abruptly and unreasonably. We, the members of the Academic Council, resolve that all unreasonable punishments arising from the February 9th incident are revoked. We resolve that the VC immediately implement this resolution.
It is further shocking that after adjournment within minutes the VC issued a statement blaming a “group of teachers and students” for blocking AC discussions. Rather than talking about technicalities, Vice Chancellor as head of the University is expected to be merciful to his own student’s life and find a meaningful solution to the grave situation prevailing in the campus for more than two weeks. This adjournment also meant that several critical matters concerning the University have been left unaddressed. This is very worrying. Blaming teachers and students is an easy route. The Vice Chancellor ought to resolve the issue urgently by addressing the concerns of all sections of JNU community in an impartial manner in order to restore normalcy to campus.
In a notice that has stumped the deans of JNU schools, the university administration has asked them to hand over the ‘answer keys’ to questions in entrance exam papers, weeks before the exams are scheduled to be held.
The notice to the deans had stated, “We request you to kindly provide the answer keys of objective question papers as well as descriptive question papers because according to the guidelines, the same is required to be uploaded on the website after the declaration of results”.
“In view of the above, you are requested to provide the answer keys in a sealed envelope, addressed to the COE by name, latest by May 10.” it added.
One of the deans said, “Every answer could have several interpretations, there is no fixed answer for these questions”.
Hon’ble President of India,
New Delhi 110001
We the undersigned are deeply distressed by the openly vindictive, unlawful and unjust attempts by the administration of JNU, Delhi, to suppress dissenting perspectives by university students.
The Vice Chancellor, based on the report of a High Level Enquiry Committee appointed by him has imposed on several students grave punishments, not only of high fines, but also rustication of varying periods and a bar on entry into the university.
These punishments suffer from three kinds of defects.
Firstly, the High Level Enquiry Committee as well as the Vice Chancellor did not follow elementary processes of natural justice before imposing these serious penalties on the students that can damage their careers permanently. They did not share the materials with the students on the basis of which adverse inferences were drawn against the students, nor did they hear many of the students or give them a fair opportunity to contest the so-called evidence.
The second fatal flaw in the High Level Enquiry Committee report is that a major part of the evidence is video recordings that an enquiry by the Delhi Government established were mischievously doctored to create adverse public sentiments against the students, and also result in both criminal and administrative action against them.
The third is that the punishments are entirely disproportionate to the alleged offences. In the best universities in all the world’s democracies, students are not punished for allegedly organising programmes or raising slogans or demands that are deemed unacceptable to nationalist opinion.
The students have been fasting for more than 10 days in the height of the summer heat to protest peacefully and democratically against their punishments. The health of the students is declining alarmingly, but this has not moved the JNU administration which should be the custodians of the students’ well-being to heed the demands of the students.
We therefore urge you in your capacity as the head of the Indian nation as well as Visitor of the University to kindly intercede with utmost urgency to annul the HLEC report and the unlawful and unjust punishments awarded by the JNU administration.
On behalf of:
AIDWA, AILU, AIPWA, ALL INDIA TANZEEM-E-INSAAF, ALL INDIA UNION OF FOREST WORKING PEOPLE, AMAN BIRADARI, ANHAD, CITYMAKERS MISSION INTERNATIONAL, DELHI ASANGATHIT NIRMAN MAZDOOR UNION (DANMU), DELHI SOLIDARITY GROUP, DEMOCRATIC TEACHERS’ FRONT, DESI DISHA TEAM, DWARKA COLLECTIVE, DYFI, FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC ASSOCIATIONS OF ARCHDIOCESE OF DELHI, FORUM AGAINST CORRUPTION & THREATS, GUILD OF SERVICE, HAZARDS CENTRE, ILLUSTRIOUS NATIONALIST SOCIALIST ACTIVISTS FORUM, INDIAN NATIONAL MIGRANT WORKERS UNION (INMWU), INSAF, JAMIA COLLECTIVE, JANA NATYA MANCH, JANASAMSKRITI, JANWADI LEKHAK SANGH, JHARKHAND MINES AREA COORDINATION COMMITTEE, KERALA SASTRA SAHITYA PARISHAT DELHI FORUM, LOK RAJ SANGATHAN, MAHATMA GANDHI FOUNDATION, MAJMA, MEWAT SANGHARSH SAMITI, NAPM, NATIONAL FISHWORKERS’S FORUM, NAZARIYA, NCDHR, NFIW, NIRMAN MAZDOOR ADHIKAR ABHIYAN, PROGRESSIVE WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION, REDS, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION, SAHELI, SAMARPAN, SFI, SHAMBHAVI, SIKSHA, TELANGANA BHUMI RAKSHANA SANGAM
We, the undersigned, representing individuals and networks concerned with public health in this country, wish to express our solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and to underscore their demands for fair treatment by their varsity.
Why should health activists support students on a hunger strike in protest against their treatment in a university? Because the principles on which this fast has been instituted – of democracy, academic freedom, the right to dissent and to fair treatment – are dear to us and we feel, must be defended by all.
The treatment meted out against leaders of the Students Union, the student body, and the Teacher’s Association at JNU is both disproportionate and reactionary, and makes light of a growing crisis across universities in the country and beyond.
Students and young people across our country feel unsupported, and worse, targeted by the very institutions that exist for their development. This is driving a number of them- as those in JNU and other institutions – to depriving their bodies in protest through hunger strikes. In some, more dire cases, circumstances are compelling our young people to self-destruction. Suicide is the leading cause of death among India’s youth, an absolutely tragic sign of defiance against the injustices of society today.
As people concerned about the health of this nation and our people, we find this to be both alarming and avertable. Students – in JNU and nation-wide– should be cherished and nourished, their views and concerns heard, debated, and negotiated – not quashed, neglected, or punished.
Indeed, the very foundation of scientific research and discovery – in health and beyond – is premised on the principles of open debate, intellectual freedom, and academic exchange. If we are to secure the health and well-being of our nation, we cannot allow this to be vitiated.
As people from the health field, we know the value of solidarity, of working across constituencies in the service of social justice, democracy and freedom, as we all stand to gain from their preservation and promotion. We therefore stand in solidarity with JNU students and call upon:
JNU authorities to heed students demands and hereafter, to constructively and transparently engage with students and teachers.
the Ministry of Human Resource Development to focus on the development of higher education, instead of its current preoccupation with sifting students into piles of nationalists and anti-nationalists.
the Indian Mediato exercise its rights and responsibilities and ensure fair, balanced, and accurate reportage of the goings on in JNU and other academic institutions, and to end its unwarranted blackout of these and other critical struggles of democracy in our country.
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday saw high drama at an Academic Council meeting which was adjourned following ruckus caused by heated arguments between teachers, students and administration.
The Academic Council (AC) is the statutory decision making body of the university and this was the first meeting ever since the new Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar took charge in January.
While the university administration alleged that some students “literally pulled his (vc’s) shirt and tried to pin him down” while he was leaving the venue amid ruckus, the students claimed that the VC left following uproar over report of the High Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) which investigated the controversial 9 February event.
Meanwhile, a group of 52 teachers who are also members of the AC, passed a resolution demanding that “all unreasonable punishments in connection with the February 9 event be revoked”.
“The meeting was not allowed to proceed by a group of teachers and their student supporters who from the very beginning pressed their demand to discuss an issue that was not part of the agenda. The behaviour of these teachers was unruly as they collectively shouted at the chair and sought to force upon him to begin the meeting with their item as first agenda,” a statement issued by the university said.
“As the situation turned into pandemonium, the VC agreed to discuss their agenda. However, a group of teachers sought to force upon the chairperson to take a decision then and there by announcing revocation of the proctorial orders. As a result, there was no alternative left for him but to adjourn the meeting,” it added.
Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar abruptly adjourned the academic council meeting after varsity teachers demanded that the report of the high-level inquiry committee should be scrapped and proctorial orders on students, allegedly linked to the controversial Feb. 9 event, should be revoked.
The teachers wanted the V-C to address the burning issue promptly, but ensuing chaos in the meeting led to the V-c walking out without conducting the business of the meeting.
JNU students had organised a mass protest outside the venue of the academic council meeting to raise their demands and scrap the controversial report.
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar on Tuesday faced the wrath of students and a group of teachers for approving action against 21 research scholars over the February 9 Afzal Guru event.
He had to adjourn the academic council meeting for an indefinite period as the students joined by teachers began creating ruckus demanding a discussion on the report of a high-level committee which held students guilty of indiscipline. The trouble began soon after the vice-chancellor reached the venue of the meeting at about 2.30 pm inside the campus.
Security personnel deployed outside the meeting room stopped JNU Students’ Union secretary general and a member of the academic council Rama Naga from entering the room. Rama Naga, who is a member of the academic council, had brought along with him a packet of fruits and a bouquet for the vice-chancellor.
But, the security personnel deployed at the gate of the meeting room refused to allow him to go inside with the packets.
This led to a scuffle between Naga and the security personnel. Shehla Rashid, another member of the council and the vice-president of JNUSU, sustained minor injuries in her leg amid these scuffles. They, however entered the meeting room along with other students.
Before the meeting began, Naga, who has been on an indefinite hunger strike for the last 13 days after being slapped with Rs 20,000 fine, presented his gift to the vice-chancellor.
The sheer incompetence and narrow mindedness of Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar has been evident too many times in last three months. He has alienated most of the university community. He has been sharing information with the police without discussing the issues with the university community. He is solely responsible for the damage done to the academic community for this semester. He has vitiated the atmosphere in the university by his silence and allowed unwarranted and false propaganda against teachers and students to be spread to the media.The damage to the university can be undone by the academic community insisting on his removal as the vice chancellor of JNU.
Ten emeritus professors of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday wrote to Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar saying they were disturbed by the curbs on freedom of speech on the campus.
The letter said the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus had always been a space where free speech was allowed and speakers from outside the university were also invited.
“As emeritus professors we are disturbed by the turn of events at the campus. The university has always been a space where we allowed free discussion of issues raised by students and faculty,” the letter read.
“In the course of such discussion whether in seminars or at other informal gatherings, speakers from both within and from outside the university were invited to participate.”