Statement by Alumni of NLU Delhi in Solidarity with JNU Students

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

We, former students of National Law University, Delhi, choose to speak out in solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in such times, in the interest of upholding and protecting the constitutional values we were taught to cherish during our years in University.

Amongst us, one would find a variety of opinions on issues of legal and constitutional importance including capital punishment, the execution of Afzal Guru, and the issues surrounding Jammu & Kashmir.

Despite the multiplicity of our views, we believe that every citizen and student has the right to voice their opinions, however unpalatable they may seem, without the fear of persecution.

The right to free speech and expression is guaranteed under our constitution, and is essential to democracy itself.

Further, we believe that universities play a special role in constitutional democracies as incubators for new ideas that challenge established norms and present just solutions to persisting problems.

Free space for dialogue, debate and dissent becomes vital on university campuses for them to live up to their essential role.

We are deeply concerned about the events that have unfolded in JNU and strongly condemn the use of criminal sanction and police forces to suppress the voices of students in JNU.

The use of the police to create an atmosphere of apprehension and fear on campuses will destroy the space for ideas that are undesirable for established forces, ideas that question the status quo and push progressive goals.

This strikes at the very heart of our universities.

The carte blanche given to the police by the administrative authorities of JNU to “do as they deem fit” on the JNU campus is unacceptable and must be revoked immediately.

A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India in Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar (1962) has held that “criticism of public measures or comment on Government action, however strongly worded, would be within reasonable limits and would be consistent with the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.

It is clear that provisions that criminalise sedition cannot be used to curb dissent and such use cannot be condoned.

We strongly condemn the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNU Student Union on charges of sedition.

As young lawyers, we are also deeply shocked to hear that members of the public, including some lawyers, used physical force against students and teachers of JNU and media personnel in the district court at Patiala House, Delhi on 15 February, 2016.

In India, lawyers have upheld a strong tradition of being leaders of movements towards political and social progress, and such behaviour is reprehensible and a matter of deep shame for the legal community.

Therefore, we strongly oppose the use of police force against the JNU students for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and expression.

We believe that the imposition of sedition charges amounts to abuse of law and demand for the immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNU Student Union.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this statement only belong to those who have endorsed it, and cannot be ascribed to National Law University, Delhi, its administration or staff or to any member of National Law University, Delhi who has not signed the statement.

In solidarity:

Aarti Bhavana
Aditya
Aditya Prakash
Aishani Gupta
Akhil Bhardwaj
Ankit Chauhan
Arshu John
Charu Rawat
Chinmay Kanojia
Deepti Gautam
Devanshu Sajlan
Devna Arora
Gunjan Chawla
Harshad Pathak
Hemangini
Ishita Sharma
Jahnavi Mitra
John Sebastian
Kanika Gauba
M Keerthana
Ashwin Reddy
Maulshree Pathak
Mini Saxena
Nayantara
Nikita Agarwal
Nitika Dwivedi
Pragya Mishra
Purushottam Anand
Rishika Sahgal
Sameer Dawar
Samith
Saransh Shaw
Sarvatrajit Singh Jajmann
Sarvjeet Singh
Shivain Vaidialingam
Shivangi Tewari
Shreya Rastogi
Shweta Duggal
Siddharth Garg
Siddharth Manohar
Siddhartha Sarangal
Somil Kumar
Tanvee Nandan
Toshit Shandilya
V Akshay
Vandana
Varun Eknath
Vikramaditya
Apoorva
Nidhi S. Chikkerur
Salmoli Choudhuri
Subhro Prokas Mukherjee

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Comments Till Now

  1. JNU to nashe mai choor rehta hai…Sookha Nasha Jindabad hai inke liye..inke liye koi desh nahi hota kyunki nashe se bahar aayenge tab to duniya dikhegi inhe

  2. You guys and all those in support of JNU students have completely lost it. You are talking about dissent whereas that’s not even the point in the debate. The entire sedition case arises from the objectionable sloganeering and calling for waging war against India. Expressing opinions about the Kashmir issue or about Capital punishment is alright. Everyone has the right to dissent and no one is taking away that right. However, as soon as you start propagating bullshit like “Bharat ke tukde” and “Bharat ki barbadi tak jung rahegi jung rahegi”, there is no freedom of speech. Anyone in their right mind cannot support this crap! Tell me Admin, if today I declare to the world that your mother is a w**re, does that fall under freedom of speech, or a strong case of defamation? Practical and necessary limitations to freedom of speech are the reasons the world has laws against defamation, using obscene language, public nuisance etc.
    And what ‘carte blanche’ to police are you talking about?! As law students and teachers, have you not studied CrPC which clearly gives powers to the police to detain and question any person in relation to investigation of any offence? Has your Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar been convicted without a trial? For god’s sake, apply your minds and support the govt. and the police in at least investigating the entire incident properly, instead of criticising each and every action of the police! It is disheartening to see such support from the legal community for anti-nationalist activities and such criticism for a state machinery that for once is doing something right here. I do not in any way support the acts of the lawyers at Patiala House, but I don’t support this campaign by Lawctopus either. Such misguided and one-sided articles non-sensically criticising the police and govt. do not suit a legal community like Lawctopus. Having been a law student myself, I highly condemn such anti-nationalist behaviour by JNU students.

  3. True Indian says:

    What the hell in wrong with you people? Because of phobia of one party, you are supporting these traitors. Let the police do their jobs. These people are a blot on entire student community and you are supporting them. What would happen if our soldiers refuse to do their job out of sheer frustration seeing their fellow citizens supporting their traitors? Our country is bound to fall at the hands of so-called educated elite like you people. You people are aware of your rights but are not aware of your duties. Sheer hypocrisy!

    • administrator says:

      1000s of students, faculty and alumni of top law colleges are supporting JNU students. All of them have: 1. a phobia of one part 2. supporting the traitors and 3. not aware of their duties and 4. hypocrites?

      That can’t be true, right?

      • True Indian says:

        1000s have also demanded action against traitors at JNU. Just because they don’t have an online forum, that doesn’t mean you can ignore their opinion. The police is doing their job. It is also protecting JNU from right wing activists by stationing huge police contingent outside gates. What exactly do you people want?

        • administrator says:

          They have an online forum. Everyone who has access to internet has all the online forums available! Sadly, no University has come out in support of the police action against JNU students, because, anyone who’s educated in law cannot really support these draconian measures.

          • True Indian says:

            An entire university is not supporting the action of the police. Only few people are. If it is legally wrong, then courts will give a tough time to the police. At least condemn the behaviour of JNU students. Do you still believe that they were exercising the freedom of speech and expression? Those who are actually doing service to the nation in the form of army, air force, police, intelligence agencies, IAS, IPS and many others cannot say because they are bound by their service rules and common sense. Will you publish an anonymous blog in support of police action? I bet you won’t. Even JNU panel have found them guilty and they are cooperating with the police. Please tell me which law have been violated. You people can’t trust Delhi Police, CBI, even court judgements( as seen in this case). Whose version will you believe?

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