The Delhi High Court Monday directed Delhi Police to file a copy of an order passed by its Special Commissioner of Police to chiefs of teams probing the Northeast Delhi riots, which has been challenged by families of two persons who were killed in the February violence.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait issued the direction on a plea by Sahil Parvez, whose father was shot dead near his home, and Mohd Saeed Salmani, whose mother was lynched inside her house.
The petitioners have cited a report ‘Resentment in Hindus on arrests, take care: Special CP to probe teams’, published in The Indian Express on July 15.
As reported by The Indian Express, the July 8 order, signed by Special CP (Crime & Economic Offences Wing) Praveer Ranjan, stated that the arrest of “some Hindu youth” from riot-hit areas in Northeast Delhi had led to a “degree of resentment among the Hindu community” and “due care and precaution” must be taken while making arrests. The order was addressed to senior officers heading probe teams, and asked them to “suitably” guide the investigating officers.
Responding to The Indian Express report, Delhi Police PRO Mandeep S Randhawa wrote the next day: “The letter was written only to inform the investigating officers about the representations being received from both the communities and to sensitise and guide them through the investigation of these cases.”
But there was no such mention in the Special CP’s order which specifically highlighted “resentment among Hindu community” over arrests of “some Hindu youth”.
The two petitioners, through their counsel Mehmood Pracha, sought quashing of the July 8 order.
To this, the court orally observed that no action can be taken based on a news report, on which the petition was filed, unless some authenticity to the claims is provided. It said that instead of filing this petition, the petitioners could have accessed the July 8 letter through the RTI law and go through the document.
“The counsel representing Delhi Police seek time to place on record July 8 order. Let needful be done within two days with an advance copy to the other side,” Justice Kait said.
Making his submission through video conferencing, Pracha sought direction to police to produce the July 8 order as well as any other such order issued by authorities which, he said, amounts to unlawful and illegal interference in the performance of investigative functions by police officers.
“Clearly under pressure from these efforts, respondent number 4 (Special CP) issued an order dated July 8 observing that there was a degree of resentment in the Hindu community against the arrest of certain Hindu persons, and directing investigating officers that they should be careful in the future when making arrests, and that arrests of persons should be made only after discussion of the evidence with special public prosecutors who have been illegally appointed to represent the police in these cases,” the plea claimed.
It sought quashing of the order so that investigation is conducted only as per the mandate of law, free from all undue and unlawful influence.
The plea stated that “issuance of such orders, and the general manner in which the police are investigating the murders of the family members of the petitioners, is not only in direct violation of the basic principles of criminal law, but also frustrates the process of the criminal justice system”.
“Under the influence of such illegal orders, the investigating officers have refrained from taking full and free action as per law against several individuals, not only in the cases which pertain to the petitioners, but also other cases relating to the carnage that had rendered Northeast Delhi a warzone for several days in February 2020,” the plea stated.
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