1. Home
  2. India
  3. High Court stays 1984 riots case

High Court stays 1984 riots case proceedings on plea to transfer case

New Delhi: Some victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots today sought transfer of a related case to another court alleging that the evidence was not being recorded properly, leading the Delhi High Court to stay
PTI September 17, 2015 0:01 IST
PTI

New Delhi: Some victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots today sought transfer of a related case to another court alleging that the evidence was not being recorded properly, leading the Delhi High Court to stay till next month the trial court proceedings allegedly involving Congress leader Sajjan Kumar.

Justice Siddharth Mridul also issued notice to the CBI and accused Sajjan Kumar on the plea by complainant Joginder Singh, who said "transfer of the case is imperative for meeting the ends of justice".

Singh's contention was supported by senior advocate H S Phoolka, who through an affidavit supporting the petition, gave instances where the correct version of the witness was allegedly not being recorded.

Taking note of the contention that a fair and impartial trial cannot be held in this circumstances, the High Court observed that "justice should not suffer" because of such allegations.

"Notice to all respondents. Reply be filed within two week. In view of the above and terms of the dictum, justice should not only be done, but should be seen to have been done. It would be just, necessary and expedient to stay the trial in sessions case ... pending before the trial court till the next date of hearing, October 12," the court said.

The court passed the order on Singh's plea alleging that the presiding officer "on his own interpreted" what prosecution witness Sheela Kaur had said during recording of her evidence.

"If a situation arises where what the witness is stating is open to two interpretations, the Presiding Officer ought not to supplement what the witness is saying, especially without affording an opportunity to explain what the witness is stating.

"Even an illiterate witness deserves the right to state what she chooses to say in her statement and the statement should not be open to change at hands of anyone," the petition said.

Supporting Singh's contention, Phoolka claimed when he had objected that the witness' statement was not being correctly recorded by the court, he was told that he has no right to raise objections being the victim's counsel.

Deposing as a prosecution witness, Kaur on September 10 had told the trial court that she had seen Kumar allegedly addressing the crowd and instigating the mob to kill them.

She had deposed that mob had killed three of her family members - husband Balbir Singh, father-in-law Basant Singh and brother-in-law Balihar Singh after dragging them out.

"Unfortunately, on September 10 at many places, what the witness has said was not correctly recorded in that sense," the petition said.

Phoolka in his affidavit gave certain instances where he claimed that the correct version of the witness was not recorded, adding that "the fact that the witness had stated that Sajjan Kumar is a big leader of the area was not recorded."

He also said the deposition of the witness that "mai Sajjan Kumar ko pahchanti hoon, woh court me maujood hai" was recorded as "I can identify him (Kumar), if he is present in court today".

"The word 'if' has been added by the Presiding Officer though there was no such occasion to do so in the deposition of the witness," Phoolka alleged.

The petitioner said it was a travesty of justice that even the objections raised by special public prosecutor, representing CBI were not recorded at all.

Sajjan Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash are facing trial on charges of murder and rioting in the case of killing of Surjit Singh in Sultanpuri area of West Delhi.

The court in July 2010 had framed charges, including murder and rioting, against Kumar, Gupta, Peeriya, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash in connection with Surjit's killing in the riots.

Accused Khushal Singh and Peeriya have since died.