Closure of anti-Sikh riot cases quizzed

Closure of anti-Sikh riot cases quizzed

Closure of anti-Sikh riot cases quizzed

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to produce records to explain the reasons for closing the investigation into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

This came even as the court expressed concern about 240 of the 293 cases pertaining to the riots being closed by the Special Investigation Team set up by the central government.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to place files pertaining to 199 cases, which were closed by the SIT, before the court on April 25.

Rohatgi stated that 33 years have gone by since the incident and that the investigations could not go on forever when victims, accused or eyewitnesses remained untraced.

The 1984 riots, in the wake of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had claimed more than 3,000 lives.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Mohan M Shantanagoudar, sought the AG’s views on setting up a high-level committee to monitor the probe by the SIT for now. The court observed that this committee could be entrusted with the task of looking at the cases closed by the SIT.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for PIL petitioner S Gurlad Singh Khalon, who sought speedy justice for the victims, submitted that no information was in public domain as to why 80% of the cases have been closed by the SIT.

The bench concurred with Datar’s contention that the cases have been closed at the stage of pre-registration of an FIR and hence, even a trial court did not have the opportunity to examine whether they had been rightly closed.

The court asked the AG to produce files of 199 cases on the next date of hearing.

 In the remaining cases, charge sheets were filed by the police, and they have been either decided by trial courts or await a final decision.