New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday framed charges of murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy, among others, against 98 people accused of attacking Dalits in Haryana`s Hisar district in April 2010, which led to the death of two community members.
Special Judge (Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes Act) Kamini Lau said, "In addition to the aforesaid material placed before this court in the charge-sheet, the MLC (medico-legal case) of the victims are also present on record which I have duly perused. Most of which show the presence of injuries caused to them by blunt objects."
"The post-mortem report of the deceased Tara Chand and his daughter Suman also show that they had expired on account of burn injuries connected with the incident. Further, the report regarding the damage of immovable properties and theft of movables has also been perused by me," she said.
Seventy-year-old Tarachand and his 18-year-old physically-challenged daughter Suman were killed in the April 21 arson attack in Mirchpur village, about 300 km from Chandigarh.
The judge said that prima facie there was sufficient material on record to frame charges under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 395 (dacoity), 397 (robbery with attempt to cause death), 427 (mischief), 435 (mischief by fire), 449 (house-trespass), 450 (house trespass in order to cause offence), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault) of the Indian Penal Code and additional charges under Section 3(1)(x), (xv), 3(2)(iii), (iv) and (v) of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against all the accused.
"In this regard I may observe that the incident dated April 21, 2010 was not an independent incident but was arising out of and stretching from the earlier dispute dated April 19, 2010," the judge said.
"The incidents have to be taken and read together and not in isolation. Once the constitution of the unlawful assembly, the common object of which is prima facie evident, then each and every member of such unlawful assembly would be jointly and collectively liable for any act done by any other member of such an assembly," Lau added.
The judge also said that the context of the caste cannot be lost sight of in the present case. "It is writ large that the accused belonging to dominant caste (Jat community) were the aggressors and the victims belonging to the Dalit community were the sufferers."
The entire incident took place within the full public view of the residents of the village and hence the provisions of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 would apply, she added.
At this stage of framing of charges, the court is not required to meticulously go into the material placed on record and to assess, evaluate and weigh the prosecution evidence in a criminal case as it is done at the final stage.
The Supreme Court had earlier directed that the case be transferred to the special court to ensure a free and fair trial.