BBC row: Phd scholar Lokesh Chugh banned from taking varsity exams for one year

Delhi University (DU) PhD scholar Lokesh Chugh was the “mastermind of the agitation” that broke out at the university in January, according to DU, which has accused him of screening the banned BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Chugh has been barred from taking university exams for a year.

On January 27, protests broke out at DU’s Arts faculty after police detained at least 24 students who were attempting to watch the contentious BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ on the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The documentary sparked a stir when the Union government banned it for being “propaganda” and exhibiting a “colonial mindset.”

Chugh has challenged a memo issued by the university registrar’s office prohibiting him from sitting exams in his plea, which was filed on 13 April.

He has also challenged the show cause notice issued by the Proctor’s office on 16 February that claimed he was responsible for a “disturbance of law and order” during the screening.

The court issued notice to the university on 13 April  and urged it to respond to Chugh’s plea. Additionally, the court gave the university three days to submit its response during last week’s hearing and scheduled the next hearing for 24 April.

In its counter-affidavit in response to Chugh’s plea, the varsity claims that the petitioner did not approach the courtroom with clean hands and that he has not provided any documentation to support his claim that he was not taking part in a live TV discussion.

The video footage available with DU would show the involvement and support of the petitioner (Chugh) in such a protest. It is denied that the petitioner was not present at the protest site. The video footage clearly made it clear the presence of the petitioner at the site of the demonstration and his involvement in the entire incident, as DU responded in its response.

Chugh, through his lawyer, challenged that he was not present near the protest site and neither took part in the screening in any way; despite this, the university deprived him of taking any examination for a year.

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