Supreme Court seeks first status report in two months

The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed the former Delhi High Court judge, Justice S.N. Dhingra, as chairman of its Special Investigation Team (SIT), to further investigate 186 cases in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The apex court decided to independently investigate these cases after an earlier SIT appointed by the Centre closed them.

The three-member SIT would also have Abhishek Dular, a 2006 IPS batch officer, and Rajdeep Singh, a retired IPS officer.

Hearing on March 19
The court directed the SIT to submit its first status report on the investigation in two months. The Bench directed the Centre to provide the SIT with all logistic assistance and posted the case for hearing on March 19, 2018.

The apex court decided to set up its own SIT during a hearing on January 10.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra reasoned in its order that “regard being had to the nature of the cases, we think it appropriate that a fresh SIT be constituted for carrying on further investigation”.

The court wanted all the SIT members to be based in the National Capital. The decision to form the new SIT was based on a confidential report placed on record on December 11, 2017 by an apex court-appointed supervisory committee of two former SC judges, Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.M. Panchal.

This committee was tasked with vetting the investigation into 241 anti-Sikh riots cases closed by the government’s SIT. These 186 cases are part of the 241 cases.

On August 16 last year, the SC decided to independently examine the investigation records of the 241 cases and confirm that there was nothing more to do on them.

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