The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday directed by the Delhi High Court to file a status report on the threat perception to the witnesses in 1984 anti Sikh riot cases involving senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar on a PIL seeking direction to provide protection to witnesses.

The court also issued notices to Delhi and Punjab governments, besides CBI, and sought their responses by September 18 on a PIL filed by ‘November 1984 Carnage Justice Committee’ for a direction to the city and Punjab governments to provide security and protection to the witnesses during the pendency of the cases before the trial court.

The bench also sought a status report from CBI on the threat perceptions to the witnesses in the cases.

Citing a list of the witnesses in two anti-Sikh riot cases, the PIL said that “despite various judgements and orders passed by various courts, including the high court, and the apex court to the effect that the witnesses should not be allowed to come under pressure of the accused and that it is the duty of the government to provide adequate protection to the witnesses, the respondents have failed to abide by the same.”

Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel H S Phoolka submitted the witnesses are not only scared but also under constant threat to their life and would lose their odd jobs.

He referred to a recent judgement on witness protection issue in Jessica Lal murder case and said the Delhi High Court had directed the government to frame witness protection policy but nothing has been done so far.

CBI counsel D P Singh, however, submitted the witnesses in the 1984 riot cases are from the poor strata of the society and the agency would like to file a status report on it.

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