The Chief Justice of India
23rd January, 2020
For the past several decades, the Supreme Court has stood as the guardian and protector of the fundamental rights of the citizens of this country, and the Navtej Singh Johar and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors. (AIR 2018 SC 4321) and Justice K.S. Puttaswamy and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors. (AIR 2017 SC 4161) judgments are two of the most recent examples of the same. However, with the recent turn of events, we, as law students of a democracy, find ourselves in a state of fear and absolute shock.
As countrywide peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (“CAA”) spread to several university campuses, numerous reports of the police committing atrocities against the students of Aligarh Muslim University (“AMU”), Jamia Milia Islamia (“JMI”) and other universities across the country in an attempt to suppress the peaceful protests emerged. As per reports, over 80 students had to undergo treatment after the violence at JMI, around 20 students suffered injuries including fractures and three students were left with severe eye injuries (India Today, 2019). Further, the fact-finding report on police action in AMU states that around 100 students were reportedly picked up by the police, another 100 injured, 20 seriously, and doctors had to amputate the hand of a student who suffered injuries due to a stun grenade that exploded in his hand. To our utter dismay, the Supreme Court refused to step in and order any inquiry into the police action. In what can only be described as a violation of basic principles of natural justice, the students were not even given an opportunity of being heard.