Sajjan can use victim`s statements for his defence: HC

The trial court had held that Kaur`s statements to judicial commissions cannot be used for any purpose, including that for discrediting her testimony.

New Delhi: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar`s plea to use statements before judicial commissions by a 1984 anti-Sikh riots victim to defend himself was today allowed by the Delhi High Court which said he has a right to get a "fair trial".

The court, however, made it clear that Kumar will not be allowed to further cross examine prosecution witness Jagdish Kaur but he can rely on the affidavits she had given before the commissions.

Setting aside the trial court`s June 2 decision which had dismissed Kumar`s plea, Justice Pratibha Rani said, "accused has a right to get a fair trial. It is essential that the accused is given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself in the trial. He is also permitted to confront witnesses and other evidences that the prosecution is relying upon."

"The trial court by curtailing this right of the accused had denied him his right to have a fair trial," the court said.

The Congress leader had moved the high court against denial of the permission to use Kaur`s statements to various judicial commissions, which had probed the 1984 riots.

The trial court had held that Kaur`s statements to judicial commissions cannot be used for any purpose, including that for discrediting her testimony.

The court directed all parties to appear before the trial
court on August 6.

The court rejected the CBI argument that the Commissions of Inquiry Act prohibits using all statements made before the Commission against that person in any civil or criminal proceedings except in case of perjury, saying it was "devoid of any merit."

The court said that the prosecution has extensively relied upon the affidavits and statements made by Kaur before the commissions to prove the charges against the accused and the prosecution should not raise objection to Kumar`s plea.

Kumar, in his plea had said Kaur`s affidavits and statements given earlier to the judicial commissions that probed the riots should be allowed to be used to confront her with her recent testimony in the ongoing trial.

The former Delhi MP had filed an application saying the CBI prosecutor R S Cheema on July 12, 2010 had told the court that Kaur`s affidavits and statement to G T Nanavati and Justice Ranganath Mishra Commissions cannot be used because of contradictions.

Kumar had contended that if the prosecution and the witness could use the affidavits filed before Ranganath Commission and Nanavati Commission, then there is no law which forbids him from confronting them.

The Congress leader is facing trial along with Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal for his alleged role in the killing of six people in Delhi Cantonment area during the 1984 carnage which had broken out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.
Kumar is accused of instigating a mob to attack and kill the Sikhs.

The trial court, which is presently recording statements of witnesses, had framed charges against Sajjan Kumar and five others in 2010 under sections 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief to cause damage to property), 153A (promoting enmity between different communities) and other provisions of IPC.


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