The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed till July 27 the trial against senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan passed the order on Mr. Kumar’s special leave petition against a Delhi High Court order that refused to stay the trial. The trial court was to hear from Thursday the final arguments of the accused, starting with Mr. Kumar.

In his appeal, Mr. Kumar said the trial court had refused to allow him to use a victim’s statements made before various judicial commissions, including the G. T. Nanavati and Ranganath Misra Commissions, to defend himself. The affidavits and statements of complainant and key witness Jagdish Kaur should be allowed to be used to confront her with her recent testimony in the trial.

The trial court rejected his plea; the Delhi High Court, while refusing to stay the trial, directed the trial court not to pronounce the verdict. Mr. Kumar appealed against this order.

The CBI opposed Mr. Kumar’s appeal, terming it a delaying tactic.

After hearing senior counsel U.U. Lalit for the petitioner and counsel for the CBI, the Bench said the High Court, while posting the criminal revision petition for further hearing on July 27, had directed the CBI to file a reply to the stay application.

The Bench said: “Taking note of the last part of the [the High Court’s] order, viz., ‘Renotify on July 27, it is expected that the Additional Sessions Judge will not pronounce the final judgment in the case during the pendency of the present petition,” we clarify the said order to the following effect and the same shall be maintained till the next date of hearing.”

“Considering … that the High Court has to hear all the parties to the revision petition, we direct the trial judge not to proceed till July 27. … all the parties are at liberty to put forth their … claim/stand before the High Court on July 27, and the High Court is free to pass appropriate orders on the continuance of the interim protection beyond July 27. Except clarifying the last para … we have not expressed anything on the merits of the impugned order … and [the] claim of either party,” it said.

The Bench said, “Inasmuch as the matter has a long history, we request the High Court to dispose of the revision petition either way at an early date without further adjournment.”

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