In yet another case related to the Delhi riots of February 2020, a sessions court has reprimanded the Delhi Police over its probe. The police’s only available evidence in the case concerned was the statement of a beat constable.
In yet another case related to the Delhi riots of February 2020, a sessions court has reprimanded the Delhi Police for its investigation.
“Cases of communal riots have to be considered with the utmost sensitivity, but that does not mean that common sense should be given goby; the mind has to be applied even at this stage with regard to the material available on record,” said the court of sessions judge Vinod Yadav in an order passed on September 7.
The court discharged a 22-year-old man named Javed accused of the serious charge of arson under section 436 of the Indian Penal Code while upholding the lesser charges of rioting and looting against him.
CONSTABLE’S STATEMENT AS ONLY AVAILABLE EVIDENCE
“Section 436 of IPC cannot be invoked merely on the basis of the statement dated 06.03.2020 of police witness namely Constable Ashok, who was posted as Beat Constable in the locality in question on the date of the incident. When the four complainants stated nothing in this regard in their written complaints, then the statement of said police witness has no significance to this effect,” noted the court.
The court also said, “It is also relevant to note here that till date the investigating agency has not been able to apprehend any other accused person in the matter, meaning thereby that no progress/further investigation in the case has so far been made and the investigating agency is still standing on the same square which it did when the accused was enlarged on bail by this court in July 2020.”
The case against Javed will now be tried by the court of the magistrate, as the ‘serious offense’ of arson has now been dropped.
In a series of judgments, trial courts and high courts have questioned the investigation conducted by the Delhi Police in the Delhi riots cases, particularly where the ‘key witness’ in the charge-sheet is only the beat constable and no other eyewitnesses or electronic evidence is available.
NORTH-EAST DELHI RIOTS, FEB 2020
On February 23, 2020, communal violence broke out in Delhi’s Jafrabad and spread across northeast Delhi over the next four days. This came against the backdrop of the passing of the Centre’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and the resultant widespread protests against it.
At least 53 people lost their lives and 581 were injured in the violence that ensued. Shops and houses were burnt and destroyed.