Trouble for Congress? Supreme Court orders fresh probe in 186 anti-Sikh riots cases of 1984

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New Delhi | Updated: January 10, 2018 6:14:36 PM

LIVE: Supreme Court of India today reopened over 100s of 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases.

supreme court, anti sikh riot, 1984 sikh riot, 1984 riot, indira gandhiSupreme Court of India. (PTI)

In what could have big political ramifications in the run up to 2019 General Elections, the Supreme Court of India today reopened over 100s of 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases. The apex court said it would constitute a fresh three-member SIT, which will be headed by a former high court judge, to monitor probe into 186 anti-Sikh riot cases, that had happened after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. Investigations in these case were earlier closed. Supreme Court will 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.

The order was made by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who asked the Centre to suggest names today itself for its consideration and appointment in the proposed Special Investigation Team (SIT). Other judges on the bench were Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. The top court said that the proposed committee will be headed by a former high court judge and consist of one retired and one serving police officer. It also cleared that the retired police officer shall not be below the rank of DIG at the time of his superannuation.

Supreme Court had earlier formed a supervisory body in the matter. The SC bench today said the supervisory body, appointed by it, had found that out of 241 cases, 186 cases were closed without investigation. The supervisory body’s report was submitted to SC in a leather box with number lock system. Supreme Court said it will set up a three-member committee, headed by a retired High Court judge, for re-investigation of the 186 cases.

After the tragic assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, the nation witnessed a Sikh genocide in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Despite promises made before every election, justice hasn’t been delivered to the victims of the massacre. However, now the apex court has decided to take up the matter. As per a PTI report, a total of 2,733 people lost their lives in Delhi alone in the 1984 riots, which had erupted after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The apex court said a supervisory body, appointed by it has found that out of 241 cases, 186 cases were closed without investigation. The supervisory body, which had submitted the final report, comprised former apex court judges Justice J M Panchal and Justice K S P Radhakrishnan. The government had earlier filed a status report on the probe conducted by the SIT in the cases. Petitioner S Gurlad Singh Kahlon had earlier told the bench that a total of 293 riot-related cases were taken up for scrutiny by the three-member SIT and it had decided to close 199 of them after scrutiny. At least 12 inquiry commissions and committees have been set up over the last three decades to look into the 1984 killings.

On 16 August 2017, the apex court had appointed the supervisory panel to examine the SIT’s decision to close 241 cases in the riots matter and asked it to submit a report in three months. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2015 constituted a three-member special investigation team (SIT) to re-investigate criminal cases filed in Delhi in relation to the riots.

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