The Supreme Court has dismissed the curative petition filed by an organisation of Kashmiri Pandits against the top court’s 2017 order that had turned down a plea for an investigation into the “mass murders and genocide of members of the community during 1989-90 and subsequent years” by Pakistan-backed terrorists and the “reasons for non-prosecution of FIRs” of the crimes.
“We have gone through the Curative Petition and the connected documents. In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this court in Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra”, said a bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices S K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, rejecting the plea by ‘Roots in Kashmir’.
It was in the Hurra case that the SC developed the concept of Curative Petition to provide an opportunity for those whose grievance was not addressed in the review petition to approach the court again.
The SC dismissed the main petition in July 2017 saying 27 years had passed since the events unfolded in the Kashmir Valley and evidence “is unlikely to be available”. In October 2017, the top court rejected the petition seeking review of its earlier order.
Subsequently, Roots in Kashmir filed the Curative Petition contending that the SC was “not justified in dismissing the writ petition at the admission stage merely on presumption” of evidence being unavailable due to passage of time, and said “this amounts to failure of justice or gross miscarriage of justice…in view of the fact that…” the Court has entertained and passed necessary direction for trial in cases where the incident pertains to even more than 30-32 years.
It highlighted that, in the case of the 1984 anti-Sikhs riots, the court had taken cognisance even after a lapse of over 33 years.
The petition said the Delhi High Court had in the case of Sajjan Kumar said it “is of the view that the mass killings of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere in November 1983 were in fact ‘crimes against humanity’. They will continue to shock the collective conscience of the society for a long time. While it is undeniable that it has taken over three decades to bring the accused in this case to justice, and that our criminal justice system stands tested in that process, it is essential, in a democracy governed by the Rule of Law, to be able to call out those responsible for such mass crimes. It is important to assure those countless victims waiting patiently that despite the challenges, truth will prevail and justice will be done”.
The SC ruling dismissing its petition and review is also “contrary” to what the SC had said in the 2007 decision in Japani Sahoo vs. Chandra Sekhar Mohanty that “a crime never dies”, the plea claimed. It added that the SC “completely failed to appreciate that over 700 Kashmiri Pandits were murdered between 1989 and 1998 and FIRs were lodged in over 200 cases, but not even a single FIR has reached to the stage of filing of chargesheet or conviction”.