‘It is not a small case’: Supreme Court denies bail to 1984 anti-Sikh riots convict Sajjan Kumar

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Updated: Sep 04, 2020 2:17 PM

The Delhi High Court had in December 2018 reversed the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar by the trial court in 2013 and awarded life term to him and others.

SC rejects 1984 riots convict Sajjan Kumar’s plea seeking interim bail on health ground

The Supreme Court has denied bail to former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar who is serving a life term in an 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde also said that Kumar cannot continue to stay in hospital when his medical reports say there is no need for hospitalisation.

“It is not a small case. We cannot grant bail,” the bench also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said.

Sajjan Kumar had sought an interim bail on health grounds.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Sajjan Kumar, argued that interim bail be granted to his ground on health grounds. Singh said that Kumar is behind the bars for 20 months and has lost nearly 16 kg weight and needs to recover from past ailments.

Senior advocate HS Phoolka, who has been appearing for some of the riot victims, opposed the plea. Phoolka said that whatever treatment is needed Sajjan Kumar is already being given the same at hospital.

“We are not treating the judgement (of the Delhi High Court which convicted and sentenced Kumar in the case) as faulty merely because it has reversed earlier verdict. We will hear you finally someday,” the bench said.

The Delhi High Court had in 2018 reversed the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar by the trial court in 2013 in the case related to the killings of five Sikhs in the Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony in southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.

The riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards.

On May 13, the apex court had dismissed the plea by Kumar who had sought interim bail or parole on health grounds, saying he did not need hospitalization as per medical report at the moment.

In its verdict, the high court had convicted and sentenced Kumar to imprisonment for “remainder of his natural life” in the case saying the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” law enforcement agency.

Kumar was in the Congress for over four decades. In the last few years, he had been sidelined by the party over allegations that he had led blood-thirsty mobs targeting Sikhs in Delhi after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. At least 3,000 people were killed in the riots over the next four days.

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