1984 riots: SC panel to examine SIT decision to close 199 cases

PTI
Friday, 1 September 2017

The apex court said the supervisory body, comprising its two former judges, Justice J M Panchal and Justice K S P Radhakrishnan, would start functioning from September 5 and submit its report within three months.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has constituted a supervisory body comprising two of its former judges to examine whether a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was justified in closing 199 cases relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The apex court said the supervisory body, comprising its two former judges, Justice J M Panchal and Justice K S P Radhakrishnan, would start functioning from September 5 and submit its report within three months.

It said the supervisory body would scrutinise the SIT's decision to close 199 riots related cases and also examine whether it was justified.

"We constitute a supervisor body of two former judges of this court, namely, Justice J M Panchal and Justice K S P Radhakrishnan, who shall scrutinise the 199 matters which have been closed and express the view whether there was justification to close the cases," a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said in its order of August 16, days before he was elevated as the Chief Justice of India.

The bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, noted in its order that Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has "very fairly stated" that the panel could also look into the justification of the SIT's decision to close 42 other riots related case.

"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 members of the said body shall get all the financial benefits as permissible in law," the bench said.

The bench fixed the matter for hearing on December 6 and directed that the records related to the 199 cases, which were placed before it in a sealed cover, be produced before the supervisory body.

During the earlier hearing, the court was told that these 199 cases should be verified by a supervisory body consisting of two retired judges of the apex court. However, it had not named the judges then.

The apex court had on March 24 asked the Centre to place before it the files pertaining to these 199 cases of the anti- Sikh riots which the SIT, set up by the Home Ministry, had decided to close.

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots that broke out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.

The SIT is headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch, and has Rakesh Kapoor, a retired district and sessions judge, besides Kumar Gyanesh, an additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police, as its members. 

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