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JNU sedition case: Delhi law minister issues notice to official over file on prosecution sanction

JNU sedition case: Delhi law minister issues notice to official over file on prosecution sanction

(Eds: With additional inputs) New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) The prosecution sanction of the Delhi government for the JNU sedition case has come across a roadblock with Law Minister Kailash Gahlot issuing a notice to the principal secretary (law) for sending the ministry's opinion directly to the home department, without placing the related file before him.In the show-cause notice to Principal Secretary (Law) AK Mendiratta dated January 21, the minister cited rules, saying no decision could be made and no opinion could be communicated to any other department without his prior approval.Sources said the principal secretary (law) had given reasons for not placing the file before Gahlot, claiming that the minister was not the "competent authority" for the grant of prosecution sanction.In a fresh communication to the principal secretary (law) on Thursday, Gahlot said he was fully aware that he was not the "competent authority" for the grant of prosecution sanction. However, he countered Mendiratta's reason for not sending the file to him by saying, "A file for grant of prosecution sanction under section 197, CrPC was sent to me on December 21, 2018. How can Mendiratta send a file to the minister (law) and not send a similar file to me and then try to justify it? I am not satisfied with the explanation tendered by him" Commenting on the matter, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government's law department was examining the granting of sanction for prosecution of former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar in a sedition case. He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre of committing "sedition" by creating hurdles in the works of the Delhi government. "I do not know whether Kanhaiya has committed sedition or not, which is being examined by the law department."On the other hand, Modi ji has stalled (works on) schools for children, hospitals, installation of CCTV cameras, setting up of mohalla clinics in Delhi--- is this not sedition?," Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.Gahlot said sending the file directly to the principal secretary (home) by Mendiratta was "not only an act of insubordination, but it appears to have been done intentionally so that the views of the law minister are not recorded on the file".The Delhi Police, on January 14, filed a chargesheet in a city court against Kumar and others in connection with an incident, in which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised on the university campus during an event marking the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in February, 2016.The police had told the court that the sanction for prosecution in the case was sought from the Delhi government.The concerned file submitted by the police to the home department of the Delhi government was sent to the law ministry for opinion. The principal secretary (law) sent it back with the opinion on January 18."The file is currently with Home Minister Satyendar Jain, who will take the final call on the prosecution sanction. It is not clear whether it will be sent back to Gahlot for his approval," the sources said.The court had refused to take cognisance of the police chargesheet, saying the prosecution sanction was not taken from the authority concerned. PTI BUN/VIT RC