Anti-Sikh riots case: SC directs examination of Sajjan Kumar’s health condition, report in 4 weeks

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New Delhi | Published: November 6, 2019 4:20:01 PM

The Supreme Court has also asked for a report in four weeks from the panel of doctors constituted by the AIIMS director.

anti sikh riots, sajjan kumar, sikh riotsKumar resigned from the Congress after he was convicted by the high court. (ANI)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, sentenced for life in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, be examined by a panel of AIIMS doctors, after he sought urgent listing of his bail plea on health grounds. Kumar was awarded life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court on December 17 last year. The Supreme Court has also asked for a report in four weeks from the panel of doctors constituted by the AIIMS director.

A bench headed by Justice S A Bobde said it will hear the bail application of Kumar in the summer vacation next year. On August 5, a bench headed by Justice Bobde had said it would hear Kumar’s bail plea in May 2020 as it was not an “ordinary case” and required detailed hearing before any order is passed. “We are of the view that the health condition of petitioners (Kumar) be examined by a panel of doctors constituted by the AIIMS director. Report the file in four weeks,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Kumar, said he has been in jail for the past 11 months and has lost around eight to 10 kg of weight. He said Kumar has been suffering from various ailments and has serious health issues. To this, the bench said losing weight does not mean that he is unhealthy but still “we will order examination of his health conditions by a panel of doctors”.

Kumar resigned from the Congress after he was convicted by the high court. The case in which he was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1-2 in 1984, and burning down of a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part-II. Anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.

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Kumar has also challenged in the apex court the Delhi High Court’s verdict of December 17 last year that awarded him life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life” in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. The high court had convicted him for the offences of criminal conspiracy and abetment in commission of crimes of murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of communal harmony and defiling and destruction of a gurdwara.

It had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by a trial court to five others – former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and ex-MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar. The high court had set aside the trial court’s 2010 verdict, which had acquitted Kumar in the case.

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