The Supreme Court

Court was informed in March that 199 cases were closed as the trial had gone cold; Additional Solicitor General submits on Wednesday that 42 cases were further closed,charge sheets filed in 12 and probe is pending in five.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would appoint a supervisory committee comprising two of its former judges to vet if the investigation into 241 anti-Sikh riots cases was properly conducted before they were closed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The Supreme Court was informed in March that 199 cases were closed as the trial had gone cold and investigation was on in another 59 cases.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that 42 cases have been further closed while charge sheets were filed in 12 and investigation was pending in five.

To this, the Bench said it intended to appoint the committee to go through the records of the 241 cases closed and confirm that there is nothing more to do on them. The committee would report back to the court in three months, the Bench recorded. The names of the two judges would be finalised after consultations, it said.

The case is scheduled for hearing on November 28.

In March, the Bench decided to investigate the reasons that motivated the SIT to close such a large number of the riots cases. Senior advocate Arvind Datar, for the petitioners drawn from victims of the riots, submitted that none of the closure reports were filed in a court.

On March 24 this year, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to produce files of anti-Sikh riots cases that the SIT set up by the Home Ministry had decided to close.

The bench also issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on another petition filed by victims of the anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur, demanding an SIT probe into the incidents. The bench asked their counsel Prasoon Kumar to hand over a copy of the petition to Uttar Pradesh Additional Advocate General Aishwarya Bhati.

Senior Counsel H S Phoolka, who represented the petitioners in the Delhi cases, told the court that “though the SIT’s mandate was all-India, but unfortunately they restricted themselves to Delhi… 126 deaths had taken place in Kanpur, but the cases were not taken up”.

In March, the court even pointed out that there was “some dispute” on whether closure reports were filed in any of the 199 cases.

A total of 3,325 people were killed in the 1984 riots in which Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths, while the rest occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other States.

The SIT was set up on February 12, 2015, following a recommendation by the Home Ministry-appointed Justice (retd) G.P. Mathur committee. It is headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch. It has Rakesh Kapoor, a retired district and sessions judge, and Kumar Gyanesh, an additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police, as its members.

The SIT had questioned Congress leader Sajjan Kumar thrice and asked him questions about the allegations that he instigated a mob in Janakpuri on November 1, 1984, which led to the killing of Sohan Singh and his son-in-law Avtar Singh.

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