After a Delhi court questioned the police over a wrongly-clubbed FIR based on multiple complaints of alleged rioting during the 2020 communal violence , it decided to segregate and file separate charge sheets in the cases involved.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had asked the police why five incidents of alleged rioting, theft, and arson which took place at three different blocks— C, D, and E of Delhi's Bhajanpura area on different dates were clubbed in a single FIR and charge sheet.
In a status report submitted on September 10, the Bhajanpura SHO replied that complaints of rioting that took place in D and E blocks “will be investigated separately and in all these three incidents separate chargesheets will be filed”. The court agreed.
Besides, in the other two complaints related to the alleged rioting at C block, the court has agreed to consider the charge sheet already submitted in the case.
In this case, two accused, Neeraj and Manish were arrested based on two complaints filed by the shopkeepers who alleged that their shops were allegedly looted and vandalized by the riotous mob during the communal violence.
While framing the charges, the sessions judge revoked the arson charges against the accused, noting that the shopkeepers did not allege the commission of offence and that there is no CCTV footage.
“A fine-tooth-comb analysis of the complaints and statements reveals that none of them has identified the accused persons to be part of the riotous mob which had vandalized their shops,” ASJ Yadav said in an order dated September 10.
He noted that there are no allegations by the complaints regarding the commission of arson in their shops and as such ingredients of Section 436 IPC [mischief by fire or explosive substance] are not at all made out.
“Even from the photographs filed on record, no incident of committing mischief by fire or explosive substance is borne out,” he said, adding that there is no CCTV footage or video clip of the incident on record.
The court also noted that the complaints of different dates were clubbed together. While one complainant alleged that the alleged crime took place on February 24, while the others claimed that it happened on February 25.
“Whether these complaints of different dates could have been clubbed by the investigating agency in one FIR is a question which will be seen during the course of the trial,” the judge said.
The other sections invoked in the chargesheet such as Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 380 (theft), 427 (Mischief ), and 455 (house-trespass) are “exclusively triable” by a Magistrate, ASJ Yadav said.
He ordered for the case to be transferred to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
Communal clashes had broken out in north-east Delhi in February 2020, after violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters spiraled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and over 700 injured .