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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Supreme Court orders new SIT to probe afresh 186 cases which were closed

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots, which had erupted after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had claimed the lives of 2,733 people in Delhi alone. 

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: January 11, 2018 7:15:28 am
1984 Sikh riots, 1984 Riots, Supreme Court on Sikh riots, anti sikh pogrom, 1984 riots case, Indian Express, India news The Supreme Court. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to constitute a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to re-investigate 186 cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, which were closed by a government-appointed SIT.

A bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud directed the government to suggest names on Wednesday itself for the proposed SIT, which will be headed by a retired high court judge and will include a serving IPS officer and a retired IPS officer “not below the rank of IG”.

On August 16 last year, the apex court had appointed a supervisory committee to examine whether the decision of the government-appointed SIT to close 241 cases related to the riots “was correct or not”. The court gave the supervisory panel, comprising former SC Judges J M Panchal and K S P Radhakrishnan, three months time to submit its report.

Sikhs fleeing the capital stranded at the New Delhi railway station on November 2 during 1984 riots in Delhi. Express archive photo

“We have perused the report of the supervisory committee. On perusal of the same, we find that the SIT has not done further investigation in respect of 186 cases. Regard being had to the nature of the case, we think it appropriate that a fresh SIT should be constituted for carrying on the further investigation. Ms Pinky Anand, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the Union of India, and Mr H S Phoolka, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, shall file three names consisting of (i) a former Judge of the High Court, (ii) a former IPS officer not below the rank of IG or equivalent post, and (iii) a presently serving police officer of IPS status available in Delhi for constitution of SIT,” the bench ordered on Wednesday.

The Centre had earlier said that of the 250 cases which were investigated by the SIT, closure reports were filed in 241. The remaining nine were being investigated by the SIT, including two being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the government had said.

On March 24 last year, the court had asked the Centre to place before it files pertaining to the cases which the SIT had decided to “close”.

The earlier SIT, set up by the home ministry, is headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch, and includes retired District and Sessions Judge Rakesh Kapoor and Additional Deputy Commissioner, Delhi Police, Kumar Gyanesh.

The court was hearing a petition filed by S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.


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