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Published On: Wed, Jan 10th, 2018

1984 anti-Sikh riots case: Top Court appoints SIT to re-examine 186 cases

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1367489987_Sikhinside2NEW DELHI: In a relief to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, the Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to set up its own three-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe 186 cases not investigated further by the Union government’s SIT.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the three-member SIT would be headed by a former High Court judge and have a former IPS officer not below or who is equivalent to the rank of an IG and a serving IPS officer, all available in Delhi.
The Supreme Court’s action comes after a supervisory committee of retired justices KPS Radhakrishnan and JM Panchal submitted a report saying that out of the 293 cases from the anti-Sikh riots, 186 cases were closed by the original SIT without investigation.
The new SIT will re-examine these 186 cases and give recommendations on whether they can be reopened and whether a chargesheet can be filed.1984 anti-Sikh riots case: Supreme Court says it will set up a three-member committee, headed by a retired High Court judge, for re-investigation of the 186 cases.
1984 anti-Sikh riots case: Supreme Court to pass orders on Thursday regarding names of retired and serving IPS officers who could be included in the three-member committee, for re-investigation of the 186 cases.
In September last year, the Supreme Court had set up the Radhakrishnan-Panchal panel to examine the decision of the original SIT to close 199 cases relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The panel was asked to examine whether the original SIT’s decision to close these cases was justified. The original SIT in question was appointed by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre in February, 2015.It was headed by IPS officer Pramod Asthana, while the other members were ex-district judge Rakesh Kapoor and a police officer Kumar Gyanes.

The anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. She was killed by two of her bodyguards – both Sikhs – over her decision to allow the Indian Army to storm the Golden Temple in Amritsar in order to flush out militant religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

The anti-Sikh riots, which continued for three days after Gandhi’s death, rocked the country and have dominated India’s mainstream discourse for years. The riots had claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.

On the government’s insistence, the Bench posted the matter for January 11, so that the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, and senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, who is appearing for the victims, could suggest names for the new special probe team.
When the victims recalled that such an SIT had been quashed following objections that said investigation was the police’s forte and not the court’s, Chief Justice Misra said: “That is history. This is we [Supreme Court] who are doing it.”
The decision to form a new SIT was based on a confidential report placed on record on December 11, 2017 by an apex court-appointed supervisory committee of former Supreme Court judges, Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.M. Panchal.
This committee was tasked with vetting the investigation into 241 anti-Sikh riots cases closed by the government’s SIT. These 186 cases are a part of those cases. On August 16 last year, the court decided to independently examine the investigation records of the 241 cases and confirm that there was nothing more to do on them.
A total of 3,325 people were killed in the 1984 riots. Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths, while the rest occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other States.
The government SIT was set up on February 12, 2015, following a recommendation by the Justice (retd.) G.P. Mathur committee. It was headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch and comprised retired district and sessions judge Rakesh Kapoor and additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police Kumar Gyanesh. The Centre had told the court that out of a total 293 cases investigated by the SIT, closure reports were filed for 241 cases.

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