The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to file a “comprehensive report” on the status of investigation conducted by a special investigation team (SIT) into the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases, on a plea seeking a court-supervised probe. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi fixed the issue for further hearing on February 20 and asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinki Anand to also apprise it about the steps taken in the matter within four weeks.
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During the brief hearing, the ASG told the bench that the work of the SIT was “in progress”.
However, the counsel appearing for petitioner S Gurlad Singh Kahlon argued that extension of tenure to the SIT was given earlier and its term is going to expire on February 17.
The counsel said the charge sheets should have been filed after due investigation in these matters but nothing has been done till date.
The Centre, in its counter affidavit filed earlier, had said there has been a “considerable progress” in the SIT probe and 218 cases were at various stage of scrutiny and a “decision has been taken for re-investigation in respect of 22 cases”.
However, the petitioner had opposed the contentions in his rejoinder and claimed that neither has the probe been completed by the SIT in any of these cases, nor any charge sheets have been filed.
Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, had sought the apex court’s directions for setting up of the SIT to ensure speedy justice to riots victims.
He had also sought a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs to complete the task within six months and give reports on the progress of investigation in all criminal cases relating to the massacre from time to time till the filing of charge sheets.
The apex court had earlier asked the Centre to file a status report on the SIT probe into the 1984 anti-Sikh riot in Delhi.
The petitioner has said the SIT was formed by the government on February 12, 2015 for fresh probe into the 1984 riot cases and got an extension for a year.
However, there was inordinate delay in prosecution of the cases and further delay would prejudice trial, he had pleaded.
The Home Ministry had set up a three-member SIT for re-investigation of the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases, mainly in Delhi and other states.
It was to look into all serious criminal cases relating to the riots, examine evidence and even reopen cases and file charge sheets in concerned courts.
The SIT is headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch, and has Rakesh Kapoor, a retired district and sessions judge, and Kumar Gyanesh, Additional Deputy Commissioner in Delhi Police, as its members.
Anti-Sikh riot that broke out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.