The Delhi High Court Friday issued notice to former police officer Amod Kanth and one of his colleagues on an appeal against the dismissal of a plea for stripping him of the police medal awarded for maintaining law and order during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots here.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notice to Kanth and the then station house officer S.S. Manan of Paharganj police station seeking their reply by Dec 13.
Petitioners Amrik Singh Lovely and Trilok Singh moved the appeal after a single judge bench had rejected their plea April 7. They alleged that former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kanth and Manan were wrongly awarded the president’s police medals for gallantry.
The duo had implicated the Sikh community’s members during the riots which followed the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards Oct 31, 1984, the petitioners alleged.
The petition, seeking a direction to the union home ministry to withdraw the police medal for gallantry conferred on Kanth and Manan by a presidential notification on June 7, 1985, was dismissed by Justice S. Muralidhar.
Though the judge noted that the 1984 riots in Delhi have ‘left deep scars on the collective memory of the nation, and especially of the Sikh community’ and that the ‘role of the State machinery has come under critical scrutiny’, he said there was little scope for judicial review in the case.
‘It is arguable that in the context of a tragedy of such proportions, the state ought to display sensitivity to the feelings of the victim community and be circumspect in hastening to award gallantry medals to the officials of the law enforcement machinery soon after the events. Yet, the scope of judicial review in such matters is limited,’ he said while rejecting the petition.