Two former SC judges to examine 241 Sikh riot cases closed by SIT

The Supreme Court has appointed a supervisory panel comprising two of its former judges – Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan – to examine the justification for closure of 241 anti-Sikh riot cases probed by the SIT.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar gave three months’ time to the supervisory committee to submit its report.

“We constitute a supervisory body of two former judges of this court, namely, Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice K.S.P. Radhakrishnan, who shall scrutinize the 199 matters which have been closed and express the view whether there was justification to close the cases,” said the bench in its order.

The two-judge panel would also examine another 42 cases which were closed by the Special Investigation Team after investigation.

The court directed next hearing of the matter on December 6, 2017.

The apex court order came after the Central government left it to the court to take a final call on the matter.

Given the details of closure report in 199 cases in a sealed cover, the bench said that this should be handed over to the supervisory committee and ordered the government to extend all the secretarial facilities to the committee.

The court was told that of the 250 cases that were investigated by the SIT, the closure report was filed in 241 cases and nine cases were pending with the SIT. Two cases are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The court order on the appointment of supervisory committee came on a 2016 petition by Gurlad Singh Kahlon, a member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, who contended that SIT, set up to investigate the cases that were earlier closed for the lack of sufficient evidence, has utterly failed in carrying out the probe.

He had contended that the SIT that was set up on February 12, 2015 and was given six months’ time to complete its mandate. However, on August 12, 2015, it was given an extension of one year.

The top court had on January 16 this year sought a comprehensive status report on the SIT probe.

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