The Delhi High Court Monday came down heavily on Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for “casting aspersions” on a judge hearing a case relating to 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which CBI has filed an appeal against his acquittal by the trial court.
The bench took exception to an argument by Kumar’s counsel, Advocate Anil Sharma, for transferring the hearing of the appeal to another bench on the grounds that Justice P S Teji, who is a part of the two-judge bench hearing the appeal, should “not hear the matter” as he had adjudicated the bail plea of Kumar as a trial court judge.
The bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Teji took strong exception to the arguments after the lawyer said that the judge was “showing keen interest” in the case.
“We do not like allegations and aspersions. How dare you say keen interest was shown there in the matter? If the court is insisting on hearing a matter, that does not mean it is showing keen interest,” the bench told Kumar’s counsel.
The court also said it “did not understand” why the accused wanted to delay the hearing further. “This matter is pending in the court. The matter relates to an incident which had happened in 1984. We have to get over with the matter,” the bench said.
“What we do not understand is that why you do not want to get over with this hearing. We are sitting here with an open mind. We are very conscious and we only follow the law,” the bench told Kumar’s counsel.
Advocate Sharma told the bench he would file a proper application for transfer of the case to another bench.
The bench asked the advocates representing others who have challenged their conviction in the case if they had any “apprehension about justice from this court”. The lawyers informed the court they did not have any objections to the bench.
The court granted three days to Kumar’s counsel to move an application in this regard and posted the matter for hearing on October 3.
CBI special prosecutor Senior Advocate R S Cheema informed the court that the FIR in this particular case was registered only in 2005, therefore, the matter was still pending. “The FIR in this case was registered in 2005. These five murders were never investigated properly earlier,” said Cheema.
The CBI has moved the high court challenging the acquittal of Kumar in a case relating to killing of five Sikhs —Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh, all belonging to the same family — by a mob in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar area during the riots.
While acquitting Kumar, the trial court in 2013 had held five others guilty and awarded varying jail terms to them for being part of the mob that killed the Sikhs.