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Two retired SC judge to examine 241 closed 84 anti-Sikh riot cases in Delhi

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has entrusted the task on its two retired judges—Justice J M Panchal and Justice K S P Radhakrishnan to examine 241 anti-Sikh riot cases of 1984 which were closed by a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to ensure that no accused got scot free for indulging in heinous offence.

A three member SIT, headed by IPS officer Pramod Asthana was constituted by the Centre in February, 2015 and was given the task to re-open all cases which were closed by Delhi Police for allegedly lack of sufficient evidence. The SIT, after examining all the available materials, recommended closure of 241 odd cases and it is still examining nine cases. But a bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar decided to get the cases re-examined by its retired judges.

The Court appointed “supervising body” of its former judges to go through the closure reports filed by SIT and file a report within three months on whether there was any prosecutable evidence in those cases. The bench, however, did not name the judges who are to be part of the panel and said that it would decide after holding consultation. The court said that that there was a need to set up the panel to examine whether the decision taken by SIT was correct or not.

“We constitute a Supervisory Body of two former Judges of this court, namely, Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice K.S.P. Radhakrishnan, who shall scrutinize the matters which have been closed and express the view whether there was justification to close the cases. The Supervisory Body is requested to file a report within three months. The said Supervisory Body shall be given requisite assistance, which the Union of India shall provide. The Supervisory Body shall start functioning from September 5, 2017,” the court said.

Additional Solicitor Generals Tushar Mehta and Pinki Anand, appearing for Centre, did not oppose setting up of the panel and left it for the court to take a call on the issue.

In the riots which broke out in retaliation against the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984, more than 3,300 persons were killed. As many as 2,733 deaths were in Delhi alone. As many as 650 cases in connection with the 1984 riots were registered by the Delhi Police, of which 241 cases were later closed. Four of these cases, however, were reopened in 2006 and one in 2013, leading to 35 people being convicted in the cases. The remaining cases stayed closed.

Following a recommendation of a committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice G P Mathur, the Ministry of Home Affairs had constituted the SIT in February 2015.

The court was hearing a petition filed by S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, seeking its direction for an independent probe in all anti-Sikh riots cases in Delhi alleging that free and fair investigation was not done by the Police.

The court also agreed to hear a plea seeking probe in anti-Sikh riots cases in Kanpur where 124 people were killed in 1984 and asked the Centre to respond to the plea.

Source : timesofindia

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Two retired SC judge to examine 241 closed 84 anti-Sikh riot cases in Delhi


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