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BBC documentary screening: DU moves HC division bench against order setting aside debarment of NSUI national secy

New Delhi: The Delhi University has moved division bench of the Delhi High Court challenging single bench order setting aside the decision of debarment issued by the University against NSUI National Secretary Lokesh Chugh.
The bench of Justice Satish Chander Sharma and Justice Nazmi Wajiri on Friday sought response of Lokesh Singh, PhD scholar and national secretary of Congress’ students wing, on the appeal moved by Delhi University. In April month, the bench of Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav had set aside the order of debarment and restored the admission.
"The order is set aside. Admission is restored," said justice Kaurav said.
The bench said that the perusal of the record would indicate that the petitioner (Lokesh Singh) was not given proper opportunity and his submission was not considered by the Commiittee.
The high court noted that it was a violation of the principle of natural justice by the University. It also noted that the order was without giving any reason for the decision.
The high court after hearing the submission of Attorney General R Venkatramani granted the liberty to the University to take action by following proper process.
The bench noted the submission made by the Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal who appeared for petitioner Lokesh Chugh. He submitted that neither the petitioner was at the protest, nor he was detained by the police. He was not named in the FIR.
It was also submitted that the pursuant to the show cause notice issued to the petitioner, he appeared before the committee of the university and explained his conduct. His submission was not recorded in the order.
On the other hand, the Attorney General (AG) R Venkatramani submitted that the petitioner was in the protest and participated in the screening of BBC documentary which was banned by the government.
He also submitted that the presence of the petitioner in the protest is proved by the video footage. The fact of the ban was very much in the knowledge of the petitioner. He was given adequate opportunity as he was issued show cause notice and he appeared before the committee, AG submitted.
Petitioner was debarred for one year for allegedly participating in the screening of the banned BBC documentary on the University Campus. The Delhi University in its response had said that the screening of a banned BBC documentary on the campus amounts to gross indiscipline.
He was debarred by the DU over screening of banned BBC documentary on campus in January this year.
During the hearing on April 18, Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav said that University's order doesn't reflect any application of mind. It must reflect the reasoning.
While arguing for University of Delhi, advocate Mohinder Rupal said that he wanted to produce some documents on the basis of which decision was taken.
On the other hand, Counsel for Lokesh Chugh submitted that the last date for submission of PhD thesis is April 30. There is an urgency in the matter.
The court said that once the petitioner is before the court, his right would be protected.
It was submitted that on 27.01.2023, there was a protest organized by a few students at the Faculty of Arts (Main Campus), University of Delhi. During this protest, an allegedly banned BBC documentary namely “India: the Modi Question” was screened for public viewing.
Chugh, a PhD scholar stated in the plea that he was giving a live interview at the time when the documentary was being screened. Thereafter, police detained a few students for screening the documentary and charged them for disturbing peace in the area. (ANI)

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