Adequate efforts not made to examine witness of ’84 riots: SC

Adequate efforts were not made to examine key prosecution witnesses in the five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases in which the Delhi High Court issued show cause notices to those acquitted asking them why re-trial should not be ordered, the Supreme Court said today.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra perused the records and said summon was issued to the main prosecution witness only once during the trial and upon non-appearance, the recording of evidence was closed.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, was hearing the appeal of former Delhi MLA Mahender Singh Yadav against the High Court order of March 29 last year by which show cause notices were issued to him and other acquitted persons in five anti-Sikh riots cases.

Besides Yadav, show cause notices were issued to 10 other acquitted persons including former councillor Balwan Khokhar on the complaints filed regarding rioting incidents on November 1 and 2, 1984 in Delhi Cantonment area.

The High Court had sought their responses as to why the cases, in which the accused were acquitted, be not re-opened and re-tried.

“Let this matter be listed for final disposal on March 21. The counsel for the petitioner shall intimate the High Court about the order passed by us today,” the top court said.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Delhi Police, said the CBI was pursuing the cases and the agency was needed to be made a party in the appeal.

The bench said that let the probe agency file the plea seeking impleadment as a party in the case.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, representing riots victims said that in all the five cases, accused were acquitted as adequate efforts were not made to ensure that key prosecution witnesses appear and depose.

“The complaints disclose horrifying crimes against humanity. These point out that male members of one community were singled out for elimination. These suggest that these were no ordinary crimes, or simple murders (if ever a murder could be termed as simple). Treated as individual cases, while the culprits got away scot free, everybody else, the police, the prosecutors, even the courts, appear to have failed the victims, and, most importantly society.

“Perhaps, had these terrible offences in 1984 been punished and the offenders brought to book, the history of crime in this country may have been different. We are of the view that if we fail to take action even now, we would be miserably failing in our constitutional duty as well as in discharging judicial function,” the High Court had said.

It had issued suo motu directions to “secure ends of justice” after perusing the trial court records regarding the acquittal of accused in five different cases in 1986 relating to killing of Sikhs during the riots which broke out a day after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984

Source : PTI

Delhi HC extends bail of 1984 anti-Sikh riots case convict

Delhi HC extends bail of 1984 anti-Sikh riots case convict
Delhi HC extends bail of 1984 anti-Sikh riots case convict

The Delhi High Court today extended till August 18 the interim bail granted to a former Congress councillor, serving life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, to enable him to arrange funds to pay his lawyers.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra granted the relief to Balwan Khokhar who has sought extension of bail till October to finalise the sale of his properties.

The court while extending the bail till August 18 asked the CBI to verify Khokhar’s claims that he has received a consideration of Rs four lakh and sale would be finalised by October.

His application for extension was moved as the 14-day bail granted to him by the court on July 20 had expired.

Congress leader Sajjan Kumar had been acquitted in this riots case by the trial court but Khokhar was convicted along with four others.

Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in a case relating to the murder of five members of a family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984, after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

They had challenged their conviction and the award of life sentence by the trial court in May 2013.

The trial court had acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar but awarded life term to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal and three-year jail term to two others former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

The convicts have filed appeals before the High Court while CBI too has filed an appeal alleging that they were engaged in “a planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”. The agency has also appealed against acquittal of Kumar.

The high court had on March 29 issued show cause notices to 11 accused including Khokhar and Yadav in five 1984 anti- Sikh riots cases.

The accused, who were acquitted of the charges, were asked why should the court not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of “horrifying crimes against humanity”.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC orders re-trial in five 1984 riots cases

Delhi HC orders re-trial in five 1984 riots cases
Delhi HC orders re-trial in five 1984 riots cases

The Delhi High Court today ordered re-trial in five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases in which all the accused were acquitted in 1986.

A bench of Justices Gita Mittal and Anu Malhotra also issued show cause notices to all the accused asking why the case against them be not re-tried.

The suo motu directions to reopen the cases were issued after perusing the trial court records regarding the acquittal in those cases.

The trial court records were placed before the high court by the CBI during hearing of another 1984 riot case in which the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar has been challenged by the agency.

While going through the records, the bench observed that neither the witnesses nor the complainant were examined properly by the trial courts and the matter was decided in a “hurry”.

It directed Delhi Police to investigate the matter and fixed the matter for April 20, asking the complainants to appear before the court.

The bench issued notice to various accused, including ex-councillor Balwan Khokkar, former MLA Mahender Yadav and Ved Prakash.

It noted that in some cases complaintants were not issued summons and in the rest, the summons were sent to the addresses where houses were burnt during riots and therefore, could not be served.

The riots broke out on November 1, 1984 after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

( Source – PTI )