Supreme Court panel to examine why 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases closed

A “supervisory body” of two retired Supreme Court judges will scrutinise the closure by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of 241 cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. The SIT had been constituted by the Union Home Ministry in February 2015 to reinvestigate “serious cases” during the riots that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi. A three-judge Bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, Wednesday said the committee will examine whether the decision of the SIT to close the cases was correct or not. It will submit its report in three months and the court will take up the matter again on November 28.

The court did not name the judges of the committee and said it will be added to the order.

On March 24 this year, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to produce files of anti-Sikh riots cases that the SIT set up by the Home Ministry had decided to close.

The bench also issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on another petition filed by victims of the anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur, demanding an SIT probe into the incidents. The bench asked their counsel Prasoon Kumar to hand over a copy of the petition to Uttar Pradesh Additional Advocate General Aishwarya Bhati.

Senior Counsel H S Phoolka, who represented the petitioners in the Delhi cases, told the court that “though the SIT’s mandate was all-India, but unfortunately they restricted themselves to Delhi… 126 deaths had taken place in Kanpur, but the cases were not taken up”.

Two years after its formation, the SIT has managed to file chargesheets only in a few cases taken up for further probe.

Phoolka and Senior Counsel Arvind Datar, who also represented petitioner Gurnad Singh, told the bench that only nine cases were on. They requested the court to order day-to-day trial. But the bench pointed out that it had already given its order and it only needed to be shown to the trial court.


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