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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

1984 anti-Sikh riots: It’s high time these cases are tried at the earliest, says SC

A bench consisting of Justice A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said it is high time that the more-than-30-year-old cases are tried at the earliest.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: July 5, 2018 1:55:05 pm
The Supreme Court bench said it was high time the more-than-30-year-old cases were tried at the earliest. (Express Photo Amit Mehra) The Supreme Court bench said it was high time the more-than-30-year-old cases were tried at the earliest. (Express Photo Amit Mehra)

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a response from Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, an accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, on a plea filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) challenging the anticipatory bail granted to him by the Delhi High Court earlier this year.

Stating it was high time the more-than-30-year-old cases were tried at the earliest, a bench consisting of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan also asked why it took around “200 pages” for the high court to grant anticipatory bail to the accused when it could have been done in just “40-50 pages”.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, who appeared for the SIT, said the investigation against Kumar began only in 2016. He added that while granting him anticipatory bail, the high court had said everything will be tested in the trial of the case. However, in the end, the court granted the Congress leader relief on grounds that there was no evidence.

When asked whether all of the above was considered at the time of anticipatory bail, Singh said, “Yes. This is totally contrary to the established procedure of law.” Following this, the bench issued the notice to the Congress leader.

On February 22 this year, the Delhi High Court had upheld a trial court order granting anticipatory bail to Kumar in two anti-Sikh riots cases on grounds that the Congress leader, as per records, was available throughout the probe.

The Congress leader was granted anticipatory bail by the trial court on December 21, 2016 in two cases of killing of three Sikhs during the riots which had occurred after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Kumar had submitted that his name was never taken earlier and it was a case of fresh allegations coming up after 32 years.

The two cases filed against Kumar fall in the jurisdiction of Janakpuri and Vikaspuri police stations in West Delhi. The complaint in Janakpuri pertains to the killing of two Sikhs, Sohan Singh and his son-in-law Avtar Singh, on November 1, 1984 and in the other, where another Sikh, Gurcharan Singh, was burnt on November 2, 1984 in the jurisdiction of Vikaspuri Police Station. Gurcharan, who was half burnt, had remained bed-ridden for 29 years. He died three years ago.

(With PTI inputs)

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