On January 10, 2020 a plea had been filed before the Delhi High Court by JNU professors, Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood, Shukla Vinayak Sawant to give directions to the Delhi Police, Delhi Government, WhatsApp and Google to preserve all the relevant materials, information, data and evidences pertaining to the violence of January 5, 2020 in JNU campus. A Single judge bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi is hearing the matter.
The case relates to the January 5, violence, where a mob of masked men had entered the JNU campus and targeted students in three hostels, with sticks, stones and iron rods by hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings.
The Petitioners had alleged that the the entire attack was premeditated and coordinated and significant amount of data, information, evidence and material pertaining to the violence was communicated through WhatsApp. Petitioners also sought to retrieve and preserve the CCTV footage which is a crucial evidence for a fair investigation.
On January 13, 2020 Delhi police had informed the Delhi High Court that they were taking required steps to preserve CCTV footage and WhatsApp data and to that effect, they had written to the JNU administration and Whatsapp respectively.
Today on January 14, 2020 the Delhi High Court directed WhatsApp and Google to preserve and provide all information related to the JNU violence to police. To this effect the Court also asked the police to seize the phones of members of two WhatsApp groups (“Unity Against Left” and “Friends of RSS”) on which the January 5 violence was allegedly coordinated at the earliest.
Petitioners were represented by battery of Seniors Advocates Rebecca John, Akhil Sibaland Gopal Sankaranarayanan.
Author: Parth Thummar