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Screening of BBC documentary: Delhi HC set aside debarment of NSUI's national secretary

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside the order of debarment issued by Delhi University against the NSUI National Secretary Lokesh Chugh for his alleged involvement in the screening of a BBC documentary on Gujarat riots "India: the Modi Question" in the campus.
Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav set aside the debarment order and restored the admission. "The order is set aside. Admission is restored," Justice Kaurav said.
The High Court said that the perusal of the record would indicate that the petitioner was not given a proper opportunity and his submission was not considered by the Committee.
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 reasoning for the decision.
The High Court after hearing the submission of Attorney General R Venkatramni granted the liberty to the University to take action by following the proper process.
The bench noted the submission made by the Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for the Petitioner Lokesh Chugh.
He submitted that neither the petitioner was at the protest, nor he was detained by the police and was not named in the FIR.
The bench noted that he submitted the pursuant to the show cause notice issued to the petitioner and he also appeared before the committee of the university and explain his conduct.
On the other hand, Attorney General (AG) R Venkataramani submitted that the Petitioner was in the protest and participated in the screening of the BBC documentary which the Government banned.

He also submitted that the presence of the petitioner in the protest is proved by the video footage. The fact that the documentary was banned was very much in the knowledge of the petitioner.
"He was given adequate opportunity as he was issued a show cause notice and he appeared before the committee," AG submitted.
The 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.
The affidavit filed submitted that "The Committee after watching the videos found that the mastermind of the agitation was the Petitioner."
He has been debarred by Delhi University (DU) over the screening of a 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.
While arguing for the University of Delhi, advocate Mohinder Rupal said that he want to produce some documents on the basis of which the 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 January 27, 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 with disturbing the peace in the area.
The plea stated that Chugh was neither detained nor charged with any form of incitement or violence or disturbance of peace by the police.
He filed a reply to the show cause notice on February 20, the plea stated.
It is also stated that he submitted his PhD thesis on March 3, 2023.
"Thereafter, on March 10, the registrar issued a Memorandum imposing a penalty of debarment from taking any University, College, or Departmental Examinations for one year," the plea said.
They also submitted that neither the Disciplinary Authority/Committee nor the said Memorandum has given any finding as to what indiscipline is attributed to the petitioner.
It is also said the order of debarment is against the natural principle of justice as the petitioner was not given to explain his conduct.
"Holding him guilty of indiscipline is based on biased premises as other student participants have been asked to file a written apology," the pleas. (ANI)

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