The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the CBI for its casual approach in handling the 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases and strongly favoured appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor to deal with them.
Drawing a parallel with the post-Godhra Gujarat riots for the first time, a Bench headed by Chief Justice A.P. Shah asked the CBI lawyer: “Just like the Gujarat riots where you appointed a special public prosecutor, don’t you think the anti-sikh riots also merits the same treatment?”
“This is a case where you should respect the emotions and sentiments of a particular community. Please stop treating it like a routine case. We find the demand for a Special Public Prosecutor very reasonable,” the court said.
Gujarat’s Legal Department had last year appointed special public prosecutors for seven Gujarat riot cases.
2,733 murders, 10
The court was hearing a petition filed by Nov. 84 Carnage Justice Committee, representing widows and survivors of the riots after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, seeking appointment of a senior lawyer as a special prosecutor.
They alleged the approach of the lawyers of Delhi Police and the CBI, now handling the cases, including those against Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, were “slip-shod and casual”.
They said this resulted in many acquittals leading to denial of justice. Their lawyer H.S. Phoolka told the court that as per official figures, 2,733 sikhs were slayed and so far only ten persons have been convicted.
Justice Shah asked CBI lawyer Vikas Pahwa to take instructions and get back to the court by February 10.