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1984 riots: SC asks govt to give files of 199 'closed' cases

1984 riots: SC asks govt to give files of 199 closed cases
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Union government to place before it files pertaining to 199 cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots which the special investigation team set up by the Home Ministry has decided to "close".
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said it intends to "focus" on these 199 cases and directed the government to place the files before it within three weeks.

"We intend to focus on these 199 cases in respect of which a decision has been taken by the SIT to close and not to launch any prosecution in these matters. We direct the Union of India to produce the files pertaining to these 199 cases within three weeks," the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, said.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing petitioner S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, told the bench that a total of 293 riots related cases were taken up for scrutiny by the three-member SIT and it has decided to close 199 of them after scrutiny.

Referring to the government's affidavit, he said preliminary enquiry in 28 out of 35 cases have been completed, while the rest seven were pending consideration by the SIT.

Datar said that as per the SIT's report, it had taken up 59 cases for further probe out of which it has decided to close 42 after investigation, while charge sheets have been filed in four. He said 13 matters were under consideration.

The bench was informed during the hearing that the SIT has taken the decision to close 199 cases after scrutiny.

As the hearing commenced, the bench asked the government about setting up a separate body to monitor the 1984 riots cases. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that a high-powered SIT was already looking into these cases and its tenure would last till August 11 this year.

When the bench asked about closure of cases, Datar claimed that a decision has been taken to close 199 cases and that there was no transparency in arriving at the decision.
The bench has fixed the matter for hearing on April 25.

The government had earlier filed a status report on the probe conducted by the SIT in the cases. The report was filed pursuant to the court's January 16 direction asking the government to file a "comprehensive report" on the status of the probe conducted by the SIT on a plea seeking a court-supervised investigation.

Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, had sought the court's direction for setting up an SIT to ensure speedy justice to riots victims.

The government, in its counter affidavit filed earlier, had said there has been a "considerable progress" in the SIT probe and 218 cases were at various stages of scrutiny and a "decision has been taken for re-investigation in respect of 22 cases"
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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.
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