In one of the severest criticism of the Centre on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Delhi High Court has accused the Centre of being “insensitive to the Sikh community”.
This harsh criticism came in the context of the Centre’s awarding top cops, including former IPS officer Amod Kanth, the President’s Police gallantary award a year after the riots. Kanth, a DCP then, had been conferred the medal even when his role was under the scanner following stiff protests from the kin of riot victims.
“The role of the state machinery has come under critical scrutiny. It is arguable that in the context of a tragedy of
such proportions, the state ought to display sensitivity to the feelings of the victim community and be circumspect in hastening to award gallantry medals to the officials of the law enforcement machinery soon after the events”, said Justice S Muralidhar.
The court has however dismissed the plea of a kin of a riot victim who had demanded stripping off Kanth’s award. He had alleged that Kanth had suppressed his misdeeds and furnished false facts.
Justice Muralidhar dismissed the case only on the ground that the scope of judicial review in such matters was limited and it could only consider the material produced before the decision-making authority on awards.
“The riots in Delhi have left deep scars in the collective memory of the nation, and especially of the Sikh community. Several commissions of enquiry have been constituted over the years to uncover the truth of the tragic events that transpired in the early days of November 1984 in which thousands of innocent persons were killed,” Justice Muralidhar noted.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Amrik Singh Lovely and Trilok Singh, who had sought the court’s intervention to punish the police officers for “harassing and implicating them and their family members in a false criminal case and for playing fraud against the government of India by concealing his misdeeds for getting the President's Police Medal”.