“The larger dimensions of crimes (committed by Sajjan Kumar) appear to have been overlooked (by the trial court).” This was among the key takeaways from the High Court judgment sentencing the Congress leader to life term, which added that the lower court had “failed to properly address the charge of conspiracy and this was despite the fact that detailed arguments were submitted by the CBI…”.
In reaching the verdict, the HC said the trial court was not justified in acquitting Kumar for the offences. The HC differed with the trial court on points such as reading of the evidence and giving the “benefit of doubt” to the accused.
The HC said that while giving Kumar the benefit of doubt, the trial court had relied on the fact that the prosecution witness, Jagdish Kaur, did not name, A-1 (Kumar) before the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission, formed in 1986. However, Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said the trial court has to proceed on the basis of “what is stated” before the court.
The trial court, while delivering the judgment had said: “If indeed PW-1 (Kaur) witnessed A-1 (Kumar) speaking those words (call to kill Sikhs), then in the first instance before the Justice Nanavati Commission, she would have disclosed it… In the circumstances, testimony of PW-1 that she heard and saw A-1 addressing a gathering with provocative and instigating utterances was not acceptable and believable…”
However, the HC disagreed: “In any event, what is deposed before the court cannot be equated with a statement made before the (Ranganath Mishra) commission. Ultimately, the trial has to proceed on the basis of what is stated before the court and the evaluation of such evidence.”
The HC said that the evidence led by the prosecution proves “beyond reasonable doubt” that Kumar was the leader of the mob and “actively abetted” commission of crimes by his repeated exhortations to the mob to “indulge in the mayhem and kill innocent Sikhs”. The HC said he delivered “fiery/provocative” speeches to the mob gathered at Raj Nagar on November 1-2, 1984, “instigating and promoting enmity” against the Sikh community.