Cases of targeted violence; CBI, National Herald issues kept Delhi High Court busy
New Delhi: Cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, 1987 Hashimpura killings and the burning live of a man and her teenage daughter in Haryana's Mirchpur in 2010 were handled with an iron hand in 2018 by the Delhi High Court, which dubbed these as "targeted" violence, and it also remained busy with matters related to CBI affairs and National Herald among others.
At the fag end of the year, the ghost of 1984 anti-Sikh riots returned to haunt the Congress with the conviction and life sentencing of its veteran leader Sajjan Kumar.
His conviction was first of any big politician keeping in view that names of other Congress leaders also had cropped up in connection with the riots in which the high court said that a minority group was "targeted" by those who enjoyed "political patronage" and aided by an "indifferent" law enforcement agency.
Not only the leaders but their followers also had to face brunt for the anti-Sikh riots when the high court awarded five-year jail term for rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew to 70 rioters involved in east Delhi.
Before this, the high court held guilty 16 Uttar Pradesh policemen for "targeted massacre" of a minority section in Hashimpura in Meerut district.
Dalits also felt vindicated when the high court in August awarded life term to 12 Jats and varying jail terms to 21 others of the same community for their "deliberate targeting" of the Balmikis at Mirchpur in Hisar district of Haryana where a 60-year-old Dalit man and his physically-challenged teenage daughter were burnt alive in 2010.
There was more bad news in store for the Congress as immediately after the decision against Sajjan Kumar, Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of Congress mouthpiece National Herald, was directed by the high court to vacate the premises at ITO from where it was running.
While asking the publication to vacate the building, the high court said AJL was "hijacked" by Young Indian (YI) Ltd in which party chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are majority shareholders.
The Gandhis too got no relief from the high court in an income tax case regarding reopening of their tax assessments for 2011-12 and have rushed to the Supreme Court in appeal.
The tax case against the Congress leaders arose from the investigation into the private criminal complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy before a trial court in connection with the National Herald case.
While its initial attempt to save Herald House failed in the high court and an appeal is expected, the Congress is battling an eviction notice sent by the BJP government to Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund (JNMF) to vacate its premises at the Teen Murti Estate here.
The ugly fight between top brass of the CBI also reached the high court with
Special Director Rakesh Asthana and DSP Devender Kumar seeking quashing of an FIR lodged against them on bribery allegations with the approval of agency chief Alok Kumar Verma. The high
court has reserved its verdict on the issue.
Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Sanjay Nirupam, BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal were also in news in 2018.
Chidambaram was in the high court seeking protection from arrest by the CBI and the ED in the INX media case in which his son Karti is also facing prosecution. The high court granted him the relief.
Nirupam, however, failed to get any relief from the high court which refused to quash the defamation case filed against him by Irani. It instead quashed the defamation case he had filed against the BJP leader.
Kejriwal, meanwhile, cut a sorry figure in the high court as he had to apologise to Jaitley, for the allegations made against the BJP leader in connection with irregularities in DDCA, who then agreed to settle the defamation dispute between them.
Apart from Jaitley, the AAP convenor had to tender apology in several other defamation cases as well.
Kejriwal, however, had some reason to cheer after the high court early this year quashed the disqualification of 20 of his party MLAs for holding office of profit when they were appointed as parliamentary secretaries.
Former youth Congress leader Sushil Kumar Sharma and ex-TV anchor Suhaib Ilyasi, both in jail for the murder of their wives, got reprieve from the high court.
Sharma was granted pre-mature release after having spent over 23 years in prison for the murder of his wife Naina Sahni in the famous Tandoor case and Ilyasi was acquitted of having killed his wife Anju Singh.