New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to apprise it about the status of investigation conducted by Special Investigation Team set up to probe 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases on a plea seeking court-supervised probe.
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinki Anand about the SIT probe's status and fixed the matter after two weeks. "Let them give the status of the probe," the bench said when senior advocates appearing for the victims alleged that cover-up of the previous probe has to be ascertained.
"It is more than 31 years now. Many of the witnesses and even victims have died. There is a need for swiftness in the probe to give solace to the victims," one of the senior lawyers said. However, the bench asked "can a 31-year-old matter be probed in six months?" It also asked ASG to "find out what progress has been made and what SIT has done." The court was hearing a PIL filed by a member of Delhi Gurudwara Management Committee, S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, seeking various directions to SIT for speedy justice to the victims of 1984 riots, including completion of task handed over to it within six months and report the progress of investigation on criminal cases relating to the massacre from time to time till the filing of charge sheets.
"Direct respondent no. 1 (Union of India) to provide adequate infrastructure and appoint special public prosecutors and special judges to deal with the cases pertaining to trial of 1984 riots... "Issue a direction that no other court except the special court appointed for the purpose of dealing with 1984 riot cases and this court shall entertain an appeal or application against the order of the special court," the petition, filed through senior advocates Arvind Datar and R S Suri, said.
It also sought court-monitored investigation of SIT till filing of charge sheet in the criminal cases. The petition, which has also made the SIT chairman and Delhi Police Commissioner parties, said the SIT was formed by the government on February 12, 2015 for fresh probe into the 1984 riot cases and had got an extension for a year. It said there has been an inordinate delay in prosecution of riot cases and further delay would prejudice the trial.
So in the interest of justice, expeditious and concrete steps be taken for speedy and effective trial. The petition challenged the actions of respondents saying they were "arbitrary, discriminatory and illegal". "Justice has been denied to over 3000 victims due to shoddy probe, inordinate delay inrecording of statement and lack of political will," it alleged.