The Supreme Court has constituted a supervisory body comprising two of its former judges to examine the decision of the SIT to close 199 cases relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The apex court named its former judges, Justice J M Panchal and Justice K S P Radhakrishnan, as members of the supervisory body and asked them to start functioning from September 5. The court said the supervisory body would scrutinise the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) decision to close 199 riots related cases and would also examine whether it was justified. “We constitute a supervisory body of two former judges of this court, namely Justice J M Panchal and Justice K S P Radhakrishnan, who shall scrutinise the 199 matters which have been closed and express the view whether there was justification to close the cases,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said in its order of August 16, before he was elevated as the Chief Justice of India.
The apex court, in the order uploaded today, asked the panel to file a report in the matter within three months. “The supervisory body is requested to file a report within three months. The said supervising body shall be given requisite assistance which the Union of India shall provide. The supervisory body shall start functioning from September 5, 2017. The members of the said body shall get all the financial benefits as permissible in law,” the bench said. The apex court had on March 24 asked the Centre to place before it the files pertaining to the 199 cases of the anti- Sikh riots which the SIT, set up by the Home Ministry, had decided to close.
The SIT is headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch, and has Rakesh Kapoor, a retired district and sessions judge, besides Kumar Gyanesh, an additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police, as its members. The anti-Sikh riots that broke out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.