1984 anti-Sikh riots case: Clean chit or not,no immediate relief for Tytler as per law

The CBI on Saturday submitted its final report in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case,allegedly involving Congress MP from Sadar (Delhi) Jagdish Tytler,in a sealed envelope.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: March 29, 2009 1:34 am

The CBI on Saturday submitted its final report in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case,allegedly involving Congress MP from Sadar (Delhi) Jagdish Tytler,in a sealed envelope. But a clean chit from the CBI or not,legally it would not mean any immediate relief for the Congress leader,nor the end of the road for the complainant.

With the court adjourning the matter till April 2 for consideration,Newsline looks at the possible legal angles.

Court can dismiss CBI closure report

The final report,which can come either in the form of a closure report (read ‘clean chit’) or a damning chargesheet,is yet to go under the magistrate’s scrutiny.

The court had thrown out CBI’s first closure report to Tytler in November 2007 as it refused to agree with the agency’s line of investigation. The refusal had come after a news channel tracked down Jasbir Singh,touted as a prime witness by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC),while CBI had claimed Singh was “untraceable”.

Singh was traced in California.

The court exercised its power under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to dismiss the closure report. It also directed CBI to re-investigate the alleged role of Tytler,particularly in the light of Singh’s affidavit before the Nanavati Commission and his purported approval on TV to testify in the case.

The CBI has since filed five periodic investigation reports,intimating the court about progress in the probe and its efforts to record Singh’s statement. The agency had told the court on the last date of hearing that it had examined 11 witnesses in all,including Jasbir. Some CDs and other documents were also examined,the court was told.

But on Saturday,the CBI submitted its final report under CrPC Section 173 in a sealed cover.

If report is dismissed

Relevant provisions of CrPC entrusts unrestricted authorities with a magistrate in such cases: the court can dismiss the second final report as well,because a judge is not bound by conclusions drawn by the police.

If the court rejects the report,it can order a direct investigation into a particular aspect,or can hold an inquiry separately. According to several Supreme Court rulings,a magistrate has powers to pass such directions after receiving a report and the discretion is to be exercised “judicially” — that remains the only check.

The law also says that even if a person gets a clean chit in a final report,the court can still issue a process or pass further orders for proceeding against him or her.

If report is honoured

If the court decides to honour the final report and opts to drop proceedings against someone,it “must” give notice to the complainant,or the informant,and provide him/her an opportunity to be heard at the time of consideration of the report.

Option for complainant

If CBI chooses to offer a clean chit,the complainant can file a protest petition against the CBI’s findings informing the court about possible flaws in the investigation. The complaint can also request the court to lead the evidence by recording his or her statement,or record the statement of a prime witness (like Jasbir in this case).

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