HC Sets Aside DU Order Debarring NSUI Leader Over Screening of BBC Documentary on Gujarat Riots


NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside Delhi University (DU)’s decision to debar Congress student wing, NSUI’s national Secretary Lokesh Chugh from taking examinations for a period of one year over his alleged involvement in organising a screening of the banned BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav ordered: “The court is unable to sustain the impugned order dated March 10, 2023. Impugned order is set aside. The admission of the petitioner is restored. Necessary consequences will follow.”

Chugh had urged the High Court on Wednesday to permit him to submit his PhD thesis before the retirement of his supervisor on April 30.

Appearing for Chugh, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had apprised Justice Kaurav that the varsity will later “appoint a supervisor of its own choice” if interim relief was not granted.

However, counsel for the university M. Rupal argued that no prejudice would be caused and an interference by court will send a “wrong message”.

Rupal said the petitioner’s thesis and the role of his supervisor was over and that if he succeeds in his case here, it would be processed as per procedure and there was no urgency in the matter. “A wrong message will go. They are alleging urgency without showing the rules. There is no impediment,” he contended.

The DU had told the High Court on Monday that the action of students screening the banned BBC documentary without permission, and organising protests, despite imposition of prohibitory orders, amounts to “gross indiscipline”.

“We acted against the students who organised the screening of the documentary based on the newspaper reports which said that the two-part series has been banned in India,” the university had submitted.

“Chugh was the mastermind behind the agitation and that video footage shows that he was actively involved in the screening of the documentary in the University campus,” the DU counsel had added.

The intention to disrupt the academic functioning of the University has tarnished the image of the University, it was contended.

The DU has prohibited Chugh, of the NSUI and a Ph.D. research scholar at the Department of Anthropology, from taking any university, college, or departmental exams.

Chugh claimed in his plea that he was not even there during the protest since he was attending a media interaction.

However, the DU served him with a show-cause notice on February 16 alleging that he had disrupted law and order at the university during the screening. On March 10, a memorandum debarring him was then issued.

In his plea, Chugh claims that the university’s order against him went against the principles of natural justice and that the disciplinary authorities failed to even inform him of the allegations and charges against him. Therefore, Chugh demanded that the memorandum and notice that claim he was complicit in a breach of law and order be set aside. He has asked for a stay of the memorandum in the interim. — IANS


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