Delhi riots: complaints left hanging, court observes

A Delhi court has noted that for several FIRs registered in the 2020 north-east Delhi riots, where multiple complaints have been clubbed together, the Delhi police have filed chargesheets only after investigating some of the complaints while the prosecution has opted not to prosecute all the complaints in such cases.

While hearing one such case where 24 separate complaints were merged into a single FIR and a single chargesheet was filed, Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala has asked the Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East) to look into this case “and similar kind of matters/cases”.

In this particular case, pertaining to rioting in the Gokulpuri area during the February 2020 riots, the police filed a chargesheet in December last year. In February 2022, the sessions court hearing the case asked the police to explain “how a single chargesheet had been filed in respect of 24 separate complaints”.

Following this, the police submitted before the court in April that they had decided to segregate certain complaints in the case and file separate chargesheets with respect to those. It had said that the chargesheet submitted by them should be considered for only 17 of the 24 complaints.

However, three-and-half-months later, ASJ Pramachala found that neither the prosecution nor the Special Public Prosecutor could explain what action had been taken in case of the seven segregated complaints.

“Much of the time has elapsed and the investigating agency cannot afford to waste further time, in the name of taking separate action on those complaints,” the court said on July 23.

The court said, “Keeping in view inaction on those complaints so far, the matter is referred to DCP (North-East) to look into this matter,” further directing the concerned SHO and Assistant Police Commissioner concerned to appear in person with an Action Taken Report on the case and on the status of the segregated complaints.

In another case of rioting pertaining to the Bhajanpura area, the court of ASJ Pramachala found that the FIR contained two complaints — one from Sunny Jain and one from Sahid Khan but the chargesheet in the case, filed in April this year, “is silent in respect of culprits behind the incident reported by Sahid Khan in specific terms”.

In this case too, the court last week directed the police to point out the specific evidence collected with respect to the complaint of Mr. Khan and one other complainant.

Trial courts have often pulled up the Delhi police for their “casual” approach in probing cases related to the Delhi riots — especially those where multiple complaints had been clubbed. The court of the then Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had, last year, also imposed a cost of ₹25,000 on Delhi police for resisting a court order to separate complaints in a clubbed FIR. In another instance, last year, another court had imposed a cost of ₹25,000 in a separate riots case of clubbed complaints.

Both orders imposing the cost on the police were later stayed by another court after an appeal by the Delhi police but the appellant courts have not yet expunged the remarks made by lower courts on the quality of the police investigation in these matters.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2022 3:34:10 am |