Justice Vipin Sanghi dismissed the petition of Sajjan Kumar on the ground that the ‘circumstances and the nature of the offence is certainly not such as to justify the quashing of charges against the petitioner-accused in the interest of justice’.
‘The materials produced by the prosecution along with the chargesheet, namely, the statements of various prosecution witnesses raises grave suspicion against the petitioner (Kumar) accused about the commission of the alleged offences,’ the court said.
‘It cannot be said at this stage that the petitioner is not involved in the commission of offences, of which he is charged,’ Justice Sanghi said.
Kumar, a former Delhi MP, is facing prosecution in two cases in which he has been accused of inciting mobs during the riots, in the aftermath of then prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination Oct 31, 1984, in which more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed across Delhi and some other cities.
He moved the high court against a lower court’s order in May framing charges against him under various sections of Indian Penal code including charges of murder and rioting.
‘The interest of justice requires that the offences allegedly committed by accused persons are expeditiously tried to preserve the rule of law in the society,’ the high court said while directing the trial court to hold the proceedings against him expeditiously.
The court also turned down the plea of Sajjan Kumar that delay in the prosecution has adversely affected his case.
‘The delay in the prosecution of the case against the accused does not, in any event, appear to have caused any prejudice to him. He has not faced the trial for over two-and-a-half decades and has enjoyed his freedom,’ the court said.
‘It appears that it is the petitioner-accused who has benefited from the delay in the conduct of the investigation; the recording of statement of witnesses and the filing of chargesheet,’ Justice Sanghi said.
‘Delay may have, in fact, prejudiced the case of the prosecution, with the disappearance of witnesses and fading of memories,’ the court added.
Kumar also contended that the case against him could not stand as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) re-registered it even though a Delhi court had given him a clean chit accepting the cancellation report filed by Delhi Police in 2005.
Taking note of the contention, Justice Sanghi directed Delhi police chief to examine if the report was justifiable and file an action taken report within six months.
‘The learned trial court was right in observing that in the circumstances of the case, the mere fact of filing of a cancellation report does not tantamount to a concluded trial and does not bar subsequent investigation,’ said the high court.
The high court directed the trial court to expedite the proceedings in the case and deliver the judgment within one year.