SIT probe into Patiala House court mayhem justified: SC

The Supreme Court on Monday said that the plea for Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the assault on Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others by some lawyers at the Patiala House court complex on 15 and 17 February was "justified".

"That is the efficiency of the police in such a situation ... they (petitioner) are justified in asking for an independent inquiry," said a bench of Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre.

The bench said this as it was told that the Delhi High Court's registrar general had asked police to apprehend the stranger who was present in the "holding room" and had allegedly been hitting Kanhaiya Kumar, but by the time the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) who was called came, this man had left.

"Why did not police act? Obviously nobody acted. In a high voltage drama if the registrar general of the high court was asking for him (stranger) to be apprehended, why he was not (apprehended)," asked Justice Chelameswar.

The court observation came in the course of the hearing of a petition by Supreme Court lawyer Kamini Jaiswal seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against three lawyers - Vikram Singh Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma - for allegedly interfering in the administration of justice and wilfully violating the 17 February order of the apex court.

Even as Delhi Police denied the presence of an unauthorised person in the holding room where Kanhaiya Kumar was kept before being moved to the trial court room, the court asked senior counsel Ajit Sinha appearing for Delhi Police to go through the registrar general's report, which confirmed the presence of a stranger.

Sinha said that so-called stranger being mentioned was in fact among the lawyers who had come to courtroom number three (which became holding room after lunch break) to inquire about the status of their case during the court proceedings before lunch.

At this, Justice Chelameswar asked, "Were they in their black robes? Even the high court registrar confirms the presence of the stranger in the court room number 3 (holding room)."

The apex court had on 26 February sought a response from the central government and Delhi Police on a plea for SIT probe into the assaults.

The apex court had also issued notice to three lawyers for allegedly interfering in the administration of justice and wilfully violating its 17 February order.