'Gross indiscipline,' DU defends debarment of students in Delhi HC for watching BBC documentary on Modi

'Gross indiscipline,' DU defends debarment of students in Delhi HC for watching BBC documentary on Modi

The affidavit filed submitted that "the Committee after watching the videos found that the mastermind of the agitation was the Petitioner."

ANIUpdated: Monday, April 24, 2023, 09:37 PM IST
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BBC documentary row | Representational Photo

New Delhi: The Delhi University on Monday filed a response before the High Court on a plea moved by National Students Union of India's (NSUI) National Secretary, Lokesh Chugh and said that the screening of a banned BBC documentary on the campus amounts to gross indiscipline.

Lokesh Chugh Chugh has challenged his debarment for one year by the Delhi University. After noting that the response of the respondent and the petitioner was not on record, the matter has been listed on Wednesday before the bench of Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav.

It was submitted that the Petitioner from the video footage available with the University of Delhi was actively involved in the attempt to the screening of the BBC Documentary in the University campus with the intention to disrupt the academic functioning of the University system.

The affidavit filed submitted that "the Committee after watching the videos found that the mastermind of the agitation was the Petitioner."

The High Court on Tuesday, April 18 had asked Delhi University to file its response within three days on a plea moved by the National Secretary of NSUI challenging his debarment for one year by the University of Delhi.

During the hearing on April 18, Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav said that University's order does not reflect any application of mind. It must reflect the reasoning.

The National Secretary has been debarred by the varsity over the screening of the banned BBC documentary on campus in January this year.

While arguing for University of Delhi, advocate Mohinder Rypal said that he want 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.

The court directed the DU to file a counter affidavit within three days.

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 which, an allegedly banned BBC Documentary namely "India: the Modi Question" was screened for public viewing.

At the relevant time, the Petitioner was neither present at the protest site, nor had facilitated or participated in the screening in any manner, the plea said.

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 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 the peace by the police.
It was submitted that he was issued a show cause notice by the Proctor to show cause why action should not be taken against him for his alleged involvement in law and order disturbance during the screening of the documentary.

He filed a reply on the 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 Exam for one year, the plea said.

It was 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 was also said the order of debarment is against the natural principle of justice as the Petitioner was not given to explain his conduct.

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