ANALYSIS BY VRINDA GROVER
the Hon’ble Justice Nanawati Commission of Inquiry (1984, Anti Sikhs Riots)
Vrinda Grover aged 38 years d/o late Shri P.P.Grover r/o N 14A Saket, New
Delhi do hereby solemnly affirm and declare as under:-
That I am an Advocate by profession I also undertake law research I
was residing at Delhi, at the relevant time in 1984.
That I have done a research study on the responses of the legal
system i.e the police and courts, to the massacre targeting members of the
Sikh Community on 31st October
1984 and thereafter in Delhi.
While examining this, I have relied primarily on secondary data viz
Report of the J.R. N.Misra Commisison of Inquiry the Reports of the
Committees constituted by the Government thereafter citizen reports like
‘Who Are the Guilty’ prepared by PUDR and PUCL and judgements
pertaining to cases lodged in relation to the 1984 violence and killings. For purposes of analysis I have documented a representative
sample of 137 judgements, comprising of 120 Trial Court, 7 High Court and
4 Supreme Court judgements.
That my knowledge of the events relating to the violence is based
largely on the documents cited above in paragraph 2, and more specifically
on the judgments documented by me. I
obtained certified copies of126 Trial Court judgements from Tis Hazari
court, Patiala House Court and Karkardooma Court.
That my research and analysis will have a bearing on the following
Terms of reference of this Hon’ble Commission-clause (c ), whether these
heinous crimes could have been averted and whether there were any lapses
or declaration of duty in this regard on the part of any responsible
authorities/individuals, (e) no recommend measures which may be adopted to
meet the ends of justice and (f) to found relevant in the court of the
That in the representative sample of cases complied by me a
majority of them are judgments of the Trial Court as in my study I was
keen to focus on the proceedings of the Trial Court.
In the sample of 126 Trial Court cases, as many as 99 judgements
relate to trials for the offence of murder under Sec 302 IPC.
In the representative sample of 126
cases I found that only 8 cases resulted in conviction while the
remaining 118 cases ended in acquittals.
Of these 8 convictions, two were overturned by the Hon’ble Delhi
High Court. On the question
of sentencing the death sentence awarded in three cases was reduced to
life imprisonment by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
That I have carefully read these judgements and it is clear that a
combination of grave lapses of investigation, shoddy investigation,
inordinate delays, insufficient collection evidence, non compliance with
legal procedures by the police led to a majority of cases concluding in
acquittals were to a very large extent a direct consequence of the
incompetent, unprofessional and casual investigation by the police.
That a large number of the judgements perused by me cited lapses in
police investigation as the reason for acquittals.
That in the judgement of State v. Ram Pal Saroj, (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C. No.57/95) FIR No.426/84), ASJ S.N.Dhigra, the learned
Judge remarked that;
police investigation in each of the riot cases filed in the court has been
wanting in quality.”
further denounced the entire
process of investigation and prosecution of the violence of 11984, stating
Nov. 1984 within first week after the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi more
than 3000 Sikhs were brutally murdered on the streets of Delhi by the
lumpen elements in the full view of the police force and under the very
nose of the powerful Central govt. The police not only failed to protect the poor and innocent
persons but showed total inaction in apprehending those who were
responsible for this orgy of violence.
However, after much hue and cry by the victims
and publicity by the national and international media, the Govt.
went on appointing Commission and Committees one after another.
The crime had taken place in 1984.
The report of the crime was with the state and its law implementing
machinery in November 1984 itself. The
investigation continued in these cases for about 10 years without there
being any investigation being done by anybody.
The trail of this case started in Nov 1995 after 11 years of the
commission of crime. The
criminal law justice system in this country totally the justice.
While the criminal law justice system moved of the snail’s pace
and had no calender to keep, the death kept its calendar and Santokh Singh
whose three sons were brutally murdered by the rioters dies in Nov. 1992. The manner in which the trail of the riot cases had proceeded
is unthinkable in any civilised country.
In fact, the inordinate delay
in trial of the rioters had legitimised
the violence and the criminality.
A system which permits the legitimsied violence and criminals
through the instrumentalities of the state to stifle the investigation,
cannot be relied upon no dispense basis justice uniformly cannot be relied
upon to dispense basic justice uniformly to the people. It amounts to a total wiping out of the rule of law”. (page
State vs. Amir Chand (Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. 39/95, FIR No.426/84)
in Nov.1984 democratic values were slaughtered and soul of Indian
constitution was burned daylight by the rioters, what happened after the
riots was still worse and the justice itself has been slaughtered by sheer
non investigation and total absence of concern.
In the name of investigation only an eye wash has been done.
The manner in which the prosecution has proceeded and the trial in
these cases has proceeded speaks volumes about the health of criminal
justice system. By simply delaying the trial and delaying the investigation,
aged and old witnesses have either become extinct or untraceable and the
accused get benefit.” (page 4)
That I would like to draw the attention of this Hon’ble
Commission to First Information Report No. 426/84, P.S. Kalyanpuri, under
Sections 188/148/302/149 IPC that recorded by the police on the night of 2nd
November 1984. Trilokpuri was
one of the worst affected areas in Delhi.
As per officials figures almost 200 people were killed and 100-150
jhuggies were burnt and looted in Block No.32 of Trilokpur, within a span
of 72 hours, between Ist to 3rd
November, 1984, ASJ S.N.Dhingra in State vs. Kishori (Karkardooma, Delhi
S.C. No.52/95 FIR No.426/84) observed that “despite all of these facts
coming to the knowledge of police, day after day from 1.11.84 till the
investigation of this case going on, the police did not investigate the
murders of several persons properly and carefully nor did it register the
separate cases.” The police evolved a unique method to record and investigate
the criminal offences and killings, a method that is totally contrary to
the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 and the Indian Panel Code, 1898, a single
omnibus FIR was recorded for almost all the killings, aronse and looting
in Block No.32 of Trilokpur. This
ensured that the investigation and the prosecution of these offences would
be no more than an exercise in futility.
S.N.Dhingra commenting on the dereliction of duty by the police in failing
to register the criminal offences, noted in
State vs. Kishori and Shabnam
(Karardooma, Delhi S.C. No.45/95, FIR No.426/84), that
FIR No.426 of 1`984 which does not mention the names of any of the
rioters. It is a general and
vague FIR recorded by the police deliberately.
Despite the fact that several injured Sikhs were there, several
victims whose husband, sons and sons-in-law were killed, were available,
police did not record FIR on the basis of statement of those victims.
Rijju Singh (First Informant) although living in the area, had been
able to save himself and his family.
His statement is only that rioting had taken place in the area and
several Sikhs houses had been burnt and Sikhs had been killed.
The information of several Sikhs houses having been killed, was
with the police even before Rijju Singh met (SI) Manphool Singh.
In fact, the information which was received at the police station
from then Addl. Commissioner of Police Nikhil Kumar was that cutting of
Sikhs was going on in Trilok Puri and when SI Manphool Singh SHO Shoorvir
Singh Tyagi and several other senior officers reached at block no.32, they
with their own eyes had seen burning of Sikhs houses, rioting was still
continuing and they had also seen the dead bodies of Sikhs.
95 dead bodies were removed on that very night.
The information which was available with the police officers of
their own seeing the scene of occurrence was sufficient to form the basis
of FIR. But despite all this,
the statement of Rijju Singh was recorded by the police officer of his own
knowledge also which he gathers from the sport or from circumstances also.
If a person is found having been murdered by police officer and
there is nobody to tell who murdered him, then would the police officer
not get the FIR recorded simply because there was no one to say that that
man has been murdered ? The
kind of recording of FIR by the police simply shows that the police
officers did not want to convert their own information of the riots and
their own knowledge of the burning of Sikhs houses which they had seen
their own eyes into the FIR itself.” (page 4-5).
The FIR was registered on the basis of the statement of one Rijju
Singh and was converted into an omnibus FIR for nearly all the incidents
that took place in the area. The
police however recorded very brief, vague, general, cryptic and fragmented
statements of riots widows separately and annexed all such statements with
the main challan filed before the court in respect of FIR 426/84.
Despite the recommendation made by the J.R. Misra Commission and
the Jain Aggarwal Committee, a single challan was filed in the court in
respect of the killings of 200 after almost 8-10 years.
The Court to which the case was assigned scrutinized the statements
of riot victims and identified individuals cases of murder/arson, decoity
etc and directed the police to file separate challans in respect of each
The investigation of this case was originally with Insepctor
Manphool Singh from 2.11.84 utpo 23.11.84 but during that period neither
he nor the SHO Tyagi did anything to investigate any particular murder.
Thereafter the case was handed over to the Vigilance Branch and
Inspector Badam Singh was handed over the investigation of the cases FIR
No.426/84 on 4.12.84. He too
did nothing did nothing specific about any particular murder case.
He prepared lists of burnt houses, burnt jhuggis, Gurudwaras and of
some of the persons killed during the violence.
He also got photographs taken of some of the burnt houses.
According to him about 200 persons were killed in Trilokpuri area
and about 150 houses were burnt and looted.
Two Gurudwaras were also burnt.
He recorded statements of different victims about lootings, burning
and killing and thereafter these statements were attached to FIR No.426.
No separate FIR was registered and no separate challan were filed
in respect of the incident which had taken place at the house of different
victims and killings of different persons.
State vs. Kishori, (Karkardooma,
Delhi S.C. No.42/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ, S.N.Dhingra quoting the
deposition of Inspector Badam Singh noted that, “he stated that there
were oral instructions of his Senior Officers that all incidents of riots
are to be clubbed together and to be dealt under FIR No.426 of 1984 and no
separate case was being registered.” (Page 6-7).
Similar observations regarding the manner in which FIR No.426/84
was recorded and the killings and violence pertaining to Block No.32 of
Trilokpuri were investigated are made in State. Vs. Amir Chand (S.N.Dhingra,
Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.39/95 FIR No.426/84) State Vs. Kishori (S.N.Dhingra,
Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.42/94 FIR No.426/84). State Vs. Kishori
(O.P. Dwivedi, Karkardooma, Delhi S.C.s Nos 78/95, 10/96 and
1/96 (FIR No.426/84) State V Ramu Dhol Wala and Ors.
(S.N.Dhingra, Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.FIR No.426/84), State
vs. Abdullah Khan etc. (S.N.Dhingra,
Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.40/95, FIR No.426/84). State
v. Kishori & Ors. (S.N.Dhingra,
Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.38/95, FIR No.426/84), State v. Ved Prakash
Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.70/95, FIR No.426/84), State v. Kishori
& Ors. (O.P.Dwivedi, Karkardooma Delhi S.C. No.53/95, FIR No.426/84),
State vs. Kishori and Shabnam (S.N.Dhingra, Karkardooma, Delhi S.C.
No.45/95, FIR No.426/84), State vs. Ashok
(S.N.Dhingra, Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.12/96, FIR No.426/84),
State vs. Satyapal @ Satti (O.P.Dwivedi,
Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.4/97, FIR No.426/84), State v Babu Lal &
Karkarddoma, Delhi S.C. Nos 21/95, 29/95, 2/97, 3/97, 5/97, Fir
No.426/84), State v. Kishori & Ors.
(O.P.Dwivedi), Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.67/95, FIR
No.426/84), State v Kishori & Ors.
(O.P.Dwivedi), Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.67/95, FIR
In State v Kishori &
Delhi S.C. No.53/95, FIR No.426/84), O.P.Dwivedi observed that,
the assassination of late Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi on 31.10.84
anti Sikh riots broke out in different areas of the capital killing
thousands of Sikhs. Law and
order machinery was completely paralysed because of inaction/connivance of
the police . This is apparent
from the fact that for hundreds of murders that took place in the area of
PS Kalyan Puri only one single FIR i.e.426/84 was registered and that too
did not contain any specific details regarding the names of the persons
killed or the names of the rioters who took part in the killings.
In the name of investigation a force was carried out.
Cryptic statements of some of the victims were recorded.
No attempt was made to trace the dead bodies or to get them
identified. Even the formally
of preparing a site plan of the places where various incidents occurred
was not completed in most of the cases. Ultimately to show the compliance of law, an omnibus challan
in respect of FIR No.426/84 was submitted to the court and along with it
the statements of some of the victims were also attached. It was left for the courts to sort out specific cases which
could be proceeded in accordance with law.
It seems the prosecution expected that the trial will be equally a
force and cases would be summarily disposed of thereby drawing a curtain
on the legal drama” (page I).
That when the trial of all cases failing within the omnibus FIR
No.426/84 began, the Court as observed by
ASI S.N.Dhingra in State v. Abullah Khan etc. (Karkardooma, Delhi
S.C. No.40/94 FIR No.426/84, found that,
perusal of the challan revealed that police had not done justice to the
investigation and had clubbed all the different incidents to the
investigation and had clubbed all the different incidents together.
These events were spread over several places and were of three
days. Because of this conduct
of the police investigation done by police was not up to the mark and
police had acted unlike professional force.
It was also observed that police has wrongly clubbed several
incidents into the FIR. Similar
observations were made by Justice Jain Agarwal Committee and it was
suggested to the police to file separate incidents together and trial of
more than 200 accused involved in these incidents together, would not be a
fair, smooth and proper trial passed
an order directing the splitting up of the challan on the basis of
incidents.” (page 3).
That in State v. Kanak Singh , (Karkardooma, Delhi, S.C.
No.18/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ S.N.Dhingra in relation to the role played by
local level Congress leaders and
the apparent reluctance of the police in investigating their role in the
violence and killings, observed that,
is apparent that Kanak Singh and Ram Pal Saroj were the local Congress I
leaders, they seem to have silently encouraged the riots and perhaps they
were also part of conspiracy and had not gone into the aspect of
conspiracy and had not gone into the conspiracy part of the riots.
Then a conspiracy on the part of local leaders, local police and
their of not allowing any outside help to reach block no.32 and of not
sending any police force there to protect the innocent persons it would
not have been possible for any group of rioters to wipeout almost 200
Sikhs adult male members living in block no.32 and to burn their house
therefore gets benefit of police and state apathy towards 1984 riot and in
showing no interest by the state in investigation the conspiracy part of
riots.” (page 12).
That the casual, perfunctory, shoddy and negligent investigation
conducted by the police into the violence and killings of November 1984
undermined the very foundation of the prosecution of the accused and is
many trials the case against the accused could be proved beyond reasonable
State v Ram Pal Saroj etc. (Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.57/95, FIR
No.426/84) ASJ S.N.Dhingra
police investigation in each of the riot case filed in the court has been
wanting in quality.”
State v. Kishori and others (
Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.19/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ S.N.Dhingra
commenting on the manner in which investigation was conducted in cases
relating to 1984 observed that,
investigation of this case and in other cases concerning 1984 riots which
took place in Trilok Puri, has not been proper.
In fact, circumstances show that there was reluctance on the part
of police on conducting the investigation of the cases.
This reluctance on the part of police in conducting the
investigation is abundantly clear from the testimony of the witnesses as
well as from the circumstances. Mr. Agarwal the member of Jain Agarwal committee who appeared
as PW-8, has stated that there were lots of complaints that in the riots
of 1984 police had played a dubious and passive role in the riots.
Similar complaints were against the administration also of
indirectly helping the rioters… Initially, the recommendations were made
by Justice Jain Committee on the basis of affidavits and police records
for registration of cases against the accused persons allegedly involved
in the riots. However, even
in 1991 when these recommendations were being sent by Justice Jain and
Agarwal Committee the recommendations were sent back by the Administration
taking various pleas and one
of the pleas was that either the deponent were not in existence or they
were disowning the affidavit. On
seeing this kind of conduct of the Administration, Justice Jain Aggarwal
Committee decided to call the deponent before it, and record the
statement, and then sent back the recommendation so that the plea of
deponent not available or disowning the affidavit could not be raised by
the Admn. This effort was to
thwart all attempts of booking those who were involved in the riots.
Why this attempt was being made can be understood only from the
historical prospects and can be smelled from the political background of
those who were involved in the crime.
In this background, when the police and the Administration all the
time, were keen to protect the rioters, impartial and true investigation
in the riots by the Admn. and the police was not possible and it can
easily be understood as to why there was no recording of independent FIR
on the basis of statements. Why
the statements of the victims were
recorded after long time of the riots? Why these statement of the victims were short, brief and
contained no details of the incidents and why every Investigating Officer,
one after another performed his duty in a causal manner as if he has to
just push the burden to the next 10?”(page 20)
That in many judgements in my representative sample, the issue of
dealy in recording of First Information Reports and statements of
witnesses was discussed by the Courts.
It has been recorded by the Misra Commission and Committees set up
thereafter that very few FIRs were recorded by the police at the time of
the violence and killings. It
was only after the Misra Commission was set up in April 85, that the
victims on the encouragement of civil liberties group came forward and
submitted affidavits detailing the criminal offences committed against
them, their family members and their properties.
Thereafter affidavits were also presented by victims to the
Jain-Bannerji and Jain Agarwal Committes on whose recommendations several
FIRs were recorded and investigation initiated Delays were inevitable in
the prevailing political climate. The
delays eventually ran into months and years.
Commenting on the situation prevailing in Delhi at the time of the
Delhi High Court in Ashok Kumar v. State of Delhi
(1995 (1) Crimes 347) noted.
it must be remembered that at the time of the incident in question the
Sikhs community was a target and they were afraid of their lives and they
were taking shelters. The
police machinery was completely wrecked and in these circumstances the
witnesses did not go to the police immediately to give the their statement
under Section 161, as the situation was beyond control of the police and
if the police did not immediately start recording of evidence and
investigation after the commission of offence it could not be said that
witnesses should be disbelieved and their evidence must be discarded”. (page 351, para 13)
During the trial of most cases, the Courts considered the dates
that the affidavits were filed either before the Misra Commission or the
committees as the date of registration of FIR.
In many cases in representative sample, the dealy on the part of
the police in recording of FIRs and statements proved fatal and was one of
the factors that supported the decision of acquittal of the accused.
That in some other cases in the sample the Judge taking cognizance
of the circumstances that prevailed in November 1984 and complaints of
police inaction condoned similar delays in the registration of FIRs.
That in State v. Kishori and others
(Karkardooma, Delhi, S.C. No.19/95, FIR No.426/84), the case was
filed on the basis of an affidavit of Bhakti Bai filed before the
Jain-Aggarwal Committee naming the accused as members of a mob that killed
her husband as well as his younger brother, Weighing the evidence, the
Court noted the reluctance with which the police took action during the
massacre and ASJ S.N.Dhingra noted that.
for the police apathy, the statement of Bhakti bai and other witnesses
would have been recorded immediately after the riots and those involved in
the riots, would have been immediately arrested and sent for trial.
There would have been no necessary for the Jain Agarwal Committee
to call Bhakti Bai in Feb. 1991 before it and to record her statement.
I, therefore, consider that the plea of the counsels that the
witnesses have been examined by the police and by the Committee much after
the riots and this gave chance to the witnesses of embellishment and of
falsely implicating the accused persons, is baseless.
In fact, the witnesses have been knocking
from one door to another door seeking Justice but the Justice being
denied to them by the police and the Administration in gross derogation of
the constitutional mandate of equality before law and in gross derogation
of the law of the land. “ (page 20).
That, similarly in State v Kishori Bhangi,
(Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.80/94, FIR No.361/91) ASJ S.S.Bal
the instant both the P.W.s have stated that they have gone to the police
station and have made statement. P.W.2
has stated that her statement was recorded after the incident by the
police. She stated that her
statement was recorded by the police in PS Farsh Bazar Camp and PS Kalyan Puri after
10/15 days of the incident and according to the prosecution statement of
P.W.s were recorded after registration of the case.
Thus, no efforts was made to explain the delay in recording the
statement to who why the FIR was not recorded and statement of P.W.s were
not recorded earlier. However,
looking into the circumstances and facts of the case, the kith and kins of
the complainant P.W.1 & 2 were slain and they had been rendered
homeless as their houses were burnt and looted and they had to take
shelter in the relief camps and stay there for a long time and that there
is complaint about the inaction of the police.
The delay in giving FIR and recording statement of P.W.s can be
condoned.” (page 11).
That police inaction and complicity during the violence and
killings as evidenced by their non-recording or delayed recording of FIRs
and statements weakened the case of the prosecution and enabled the
accused to secure an acquittal.
That in addition to the fact that the statements were either not
recorded or were delayed due to police complicity, several judgements of
my representative sample noted that statements that were recorded were
brief, cyptic, beneft of details and inaccurate.
In State v Kishori (Karkardooma,
Delhi S.C. No.42/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ S.N.Dhingra said that,
the rioters had done their job, the rest of the job to frustrate the
investigation was done by the police.
The police during the investigation, saw to it that only inaccurate
and short statements of the witnesses was recorded.
In almost all the cases witnesses have stated that their statement
was not correctly recorded. I
therefore consider that there is no reason to disbelieve the woman who and
seen before her own eyes her son-in-law being killed.” (Page 9).
Similarly, in State v Kishori & Others
(Karkardooma, Delhi, S.C. Nos 78/95, 10/96 and 1/96, FIR
No.426/84) ASJ O.P.Dwivedi noted that,
police at the time recorded cryptic statements of some of the victims and
one single FIR being FIR No.426/84 was registered.
No investigation worth the name was carried out in respect of any
of these murders.”
The courts in some cases also noted the deliberate collusion of the
police in enabling influential and politically powerful persons to escape
criminal prosecution by omitting their names from statements made by the
victims. In State v. Salim & others (Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.43/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ
S.N.Dhingra noted that,
the investigation of 1984 riots, it is well established from the findings
of Justice Ranganath Misra Commission that the investigation was not done
properly and in many cases, the investigation was not done at all.
It has also been observed by the Commission that wherever name of
some official person was there, FIR was not usually recorded and if it was
recorded, the name of influential person was dropped.
Several investigating officers have appeared before this court and
the statements which have been recorded by these Investigating Officers of
the victims of riot, are brief and give information only to the extent who
was killed and when was killed. All
the details about the riots as to when and how the riots happened are
missing. This is the reason that the witnesses who had been appearing
before this court, had been repudiating their statements u/s 161 Cr.P.C.
allegedly recorded by the police.”
In some cases, the judges noted that the statements were
deliberately recorded inaccurately by the police, which resulted in
discrepancies and inconsistencies in the statements under Section
161 Cr. P.C. and the depositions of the witnesses before the Court.
State v Ram Pal Saroj etc (Karkardooma, Delhi, S.C. No.57/95, FIR
No.426/84) ASJ S.N.Dhingra.
had not made any other person as witness in this case.
In fact, there is no investigation done by the police except
recording the statements. Statements
recorded by the police are also very sketchy and some times the statements
are actually not made by the victims but they have been recorded by the
police officials sitting in the police station and it is alleged that
these statements were made by victims.” (page 3)
most of the cases it is found that in order to help the accused persons
police has given wrong facts in the statements.
The victims of the riot cases when appeared in the court had given
altogether a different story. They named not only those accused persons who are mentioned
in the challan but even other persons who were part of the rioting mob and
the court had to amend the charge or call more accused persons to face the
trial.” (page 3).
in State v. Ved Prakash etc.
(Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.70/95, FIR No.426/84), ASJ
S.N.Dhingra observed that,
is no doubt that there are contradictions in the statements recorded u/s
161 and the statement made in the court but these contradictions are due
to the unfortunate attitude of the police and the Administration.” P.11.
already observed by me in different riot cases that there was a total
apathy of the police in investigating these cases and the sole attempt of
the police was to help the rioters and to discredit the victims,
therefore, the statements U/s 161 Cr.P.C. recorded by the police are very
brief, inaccurate and imaginary, missing most of the details mentioned by
the victims and not giving several facts given by the victims.
Even justice Rang Nath Misra Commission and Jain Agarwal Committee
had observed that true statements of the victims were not recorded
Investigation was perfunctory and unfaithful.
Under these circumstances, when the police and the accused joined
hands against the victims, there is no wonder that there are
contradictions but I consider that truth and justice cannot be made
casualty because of the victims nexus between the police and the accused
persons. I, therefore,
consider that witnesses cannot be discredited because of the non-recording
of accurate statements by the police. I believe that witness must have stated to the police about
the death of her husband as well as about the other circumstances of riots
but police did not record the same.” (page 12).
That again, in State v. Kishori and Ors.
Delhi S.C. No.53/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ O.P.Dwivedi observed that,
witness reportedly stated that at that time the police was not recording
the statement correctly. The police used to call the victims and would ask them
one or two questions and made some brief record.
There was a general complaint among the victims that their
statements are not being properly recorded.
He did not try to approach any higher authorities because at that
time nobody was prepared in the Relief Camp for about ¾ months and
thereafter he shifted to Tilak Vihar.
Some newspaper reporters that police is not recording true facts
and is not doing justice. He
asserted that he had given various details regarding the arms carried by
the mob from his house and also the names of all the accused persons
including Abbas and Budh Prakash but
the police did not record the same. The
explanation offered by this witness regarding the variance between his
statement made before to court and his purported statement u/s 161 of
Cr.P.C is quite satisfactory. Every
court, commission of enquiry or committee has lamented the role played by
the police during these days. I
need not waste time in reproducing the conclusions of different courts,
commissions and committees regarding the inaction/connivance of the police
during the riots.
That in several cases, the statements recorded by the police were
devoid of any details and were brief.
Manohar Lal alias Munna and Anr. V The State (N.C.T of Delhi)
2000 1 AD (S.C) 52, the
Hon’ble Supreme Court noted that,
criticism is that she did not divulge all the details of the occurrence
when she gave a statement to the police on 17.11.1984.
We perused the said
statement attributed to her. A
reading of a makes the position clear that the police officer was not
inclined to elicit from the bereaved mother any details of the horrendous
episode. He felt that she was
not in a mood to speak out the details as the interval of time was not
sufficient enough for a mother like her to regain mental equanimity. He should have postponed questioning her to a future date.
In the said statement he recorded
just two sentences. It
would be unfair and we may say uncharitable to her it we use that cryptic
statement dated 17.1.184 to discredit the valuable testimony of the most
natural eye witnesses of this horrendous crime. : (page 55 para 7)
State v. Kishori and Shabnam,
(Karkardooma, Delhi, S.C. No.45/95, FIR No.426/84), ASJ
S.N.Dhingra noted that,
riot victim who could describe the narration of the incident in the court
in vivid manner depicting the entire picture of the riots, must have
described the same picture of the riots to the police also.
But, invariably all the statements U/s 161 Cr.P.C. recorded by the
police, are bereft of the details as to how the riots had taken place and
how the victims were attacked. In
view of the observations of Justice Rang Nath Misra Commission that the
police was dropping the names of miscreants while recording the
statements, the statement U/s 161 has become meaningless and cannot be
used to discredit the witness.” (page 9).
I State v Satypal @ Satti
(Karkardooma, Delhi, S.C. No.4/97, FIR No.426/84) ASJ
Insp.Badam Singh was posted at Vigilance Branch in Dec. 1984 when the
investigation of the original case FIR No.426/84 PS Kalyan Puri was handed
over to him… He stated that he did not register separate cases regarding
each murder because there were instructions from Sr. Officers to
club all riot cases pertaining to PS Trilok Puri in one FIR.
In cross-examination, he conceded that neither the parentge nor the
residence of accused Satpal figured in the statement of witnesses nor any
TIP was arranged yet he arrested accused Satpal because he was being
generally named in the riot and was well known to the local police.”
That the courts also noted that the investigation conducted by the
police was no more than a farce as is noted by ASJ S.N.Dhingra in State
v. Kanak Singh (Karkardooma , Delhi, S.C. No.18/95, FIR No.426/84)
receiving this affidavit along with the letter of Jain Agarwal Commission
for further investigation, the police instead of doing any investigation
translated affidavit in Hindi into a statement of jassi bai.
That was taken an statement u/s 161 and a separate challan was
filed reproducing what was given in the affidavit.
Practically there was no investigation done by the police.
The investigation does not mean translation of an affidavit from
English language to hindi language and asking the witness to sign it.
The investigation implies going into the facts and circumstances,
finding and the truthfulness of the allegations, collecting necessary and
material evidence. As there
has been all other riot cases the police was not at all interested in
investigation but was interested in only bushing
up the things, so the best thing for police to do was to translate
the affidavit and complete the investigation.” (page 4)
That as the police did only perfunctory investigation, often no
effort was made to join any other witness apart from the complainant in
the case. It must be mentioned here that particularly in cases
related to Trilokpuri, Sultanpuri and several other localities, which were
the scenes of large-scale violence and killings, the offences took place
in full view of the public and the houses, often of 25 sq yrd. only, were
adjoining each other. However,
no attempt was made to join either other family members or neighbours as
State v.Mangal (Karkardooma,
Delhi, S.C. No.51/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ O.P.Dwivedi noted that.
in a case where a court has to deal with the evidence pertaining to
commission of offences by a large number of offenders and the number of
victims is also large, Hon’ble Supreme Court has prescribed the test
that the conviction could be sustained only if it is supported by two or
more witnesses who gave a consistent account of the incident… In the
present case, according to Satnami Bai PW3, the riotous mob which had
killed her husband, had killed many other also in the area.
Obviously, there must have been large number of victims also.
In fact, in S.C. No.11/96 wherein Nathu Khan and Chhotey Lal were
prosecuted for the murder of Mohan Singh, three ladies were cited as eye
witnesses and Satnami bai was one of them.
But surprisingly in the present case, no other eye witness has been
cited except Satnami Bai whose testimony, as already observed, is
unreliable. So for this
reason also the verdict of guilty cannot be returned against any of the
accused persons.” (page 18).
in State v. H.K.L Bhagat (Karkardooma,
Delhi S.C. No.54/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ Manju Goel also noted that,
the scene that can be visualized on the basis of evidence on record it
cannot be said that there could not be any other witness to the arrival of
the Neta of the place. The report of the Justice J D.Jain Committee says that the
riots of October 1984 took a toll of about 2733 lives belonging to the
Sikh Community in Delhi apart from valuable articles and properties worth
crores of rupees belonging to that community.
Undoubtedly, the number of rioters as well as number of the
victims/targets was quite large. Following
the judgements of the Supreme Court 1 find it difficult to base conviction
of the accused in the facts of this case on the sole testimony of Darshan
Kaur. “ (page 46).
That as witnesses were summoned to give evidence before the Court
only after a period of 10-12 years after the violence, by which time some
old and aged witnesses passed away. The
absence of any other witnesses perforce resulted in the acquittal of the
accused. As in State
v. Ram Pal Saroj etc. (Karkardooma,
Delhi, S.C. No.57/95, FIR No.426/84), where ASJ S.N.Dhingra observed that,
the prime witness whose three sons had been killed by the rioters is no
more in this world and the police did not make any other person as witness
nor there is any other circumstantial evidence on record to proceed
further with the case, the
accused persons are hereby acquitted.” (pages 4-5).
That according to some judgements in the representative sample, the
witnesses accurately identified the accused, in Court, even after a lapse
of 10-12 years. However as no
Test Identification Parade (T.I.P.) as required by law had been conducted
by the police at the time of investigation, the identification of the
accused for the first time in Court was held to be of no value.
The failure of the police to conduct T.I.P gravely affected the
verdict is several cases, some of which are cited below.
State v. Ashok (Karkardooma,
Delhi S.C.No.12/96) FIR No.426/84, ASJ S.N.Dhingra noted that,
the testimony of above two witnesses it is apparent that the husband and
Devar of Harbhajan Kaur were killed during the riots.
At that time when the riots had taken placed she was able to
identify two of the persons but due to lapse of time now she was not able
to identify those persons. Had the investigation done properly and had the accused
persons subjected to TIP. Soon
after the incident the witness would have been able to point as to who
were the persons who had killed her husband and Devar and if the trial had
been expeditious and the time of 11 years had not been wasted by the
Administration deliberately, the neighbours who had mercilessly killed
innocent persons would have been brought to book and punished according to
law. It is sorry state of
affairs that criminals are let loose on the society because
of acts and deeds of those who are supposed to bring the criminals
to nook and get them punish according to law.” (page 5-6).
In State v Latif Ali and Ors.
(Karkardooma , Delhi S.C. No.36/94, FIR No.60/91) ASJ, S.S.Bal.
has simply pointed out towards him saying that he was also present in the
mob. There is no
identification at all in the eye of law in the absence of T.I.P.” (page
State v. Om Prakash & Ors. (Karkardooma
Courts, Delhi, S.C. No.46/94) ASJ S.S.Bal held that,
identify the accused persons for the first time in the court as the
persons who were the members of the mob which indulged in participation of
killing, looting ,damaging the house is of no value… Morever, merely
pointing out towards the accused persons that they were the members of the
mob for the first time in the dock does not fix the identity of the
accused persons in the absence of TIP.”
Similarly in State v. Umed Singh Saini & another
(Karkardooma Courts, Delhi S.C. No.60/94) ASJ S.S.Bal again
of the testimony of P.W.6 & 7 and 11 shows that PW 6 has mentioned the
name of accused Umed Singh and had failed to identify the other accused
Tej Pal Singh PW7 also only points out in the Court towards Umed Singh and
stated that both accused Umed Singh and Tej Pal Singh were the members of
the mob… There is nothing on record to show that any TIP in respect of
the accused was involved… The identify the accused persons for the first
time in the court as the persons who were members of the mob, which
indulged in participation of killing, looting and damaging the house is of
no value as per observation made by the Supreme Court.”
State v Arjun Dass
(Karkardooma, Delhi S.C.
No.32/94, FIR No.112/91) ASJ S.S.Bal noted that,
of this accused has not been proved and the dock identity for the first
time in the court is insignificant. Identification
of a person by a witness for the first time in the court without being
tested by proper T.I.P has been held to be valueless.”
State v. Suresh & Ors. (Karkardooma,
Delhi S.C. No.33/94, FIR No.182/91) ASJ S.S.Bal stated that,
made a bald statement in the court saying that all the accused were
present in the mob which I fear to accept and act upon in the absence of
TIP and corroboration from any other source.” (page 6)
State v Ved Prakash etc. (Karkardooma
, Delhi, S.C. No.70/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ S.N Dhingra noted that the
investigating officer himself averred to his failure in holding a T.I.P in
is Manphool Singh SI… He stated that he had arrested about 141 accused
persons in this case. He did not get TIP done in respect of any of the accused
persons.” (page 5)
That another lapse on the part of the police in investigating the
cases relating to the violence and killing of November 1984, that finds
mention in some of the judgements in the representative sample, was the
illegal method adopted by the police in recovering looted property.
The Police announced that looted property should be deposited on
the road or at the police stations and that no action would be taken
against them. This enabled
the rioters to escape prosecution altogether.
This is borne out by the statement of the accused himself in State
v Ved Prakash etc. (Karmardooma,
Delhi S.C.No.70/95, FIR No.426/84) where ASJ S.N.Dhingra noted that,
his statement u/s 313 Cr.P.C accused Kishori had stated that police made
pronouncements in the area that those who have looted the houses of Sikhs,
they should put out looted articles on the road.
These statements were made by Inspector Rathi who was from Special
announcements were made after police had come to block number 32.
Thus, from this statement of accused u/s 313 Cr.P.C.
It is clear that police was in league with the accused persons and
riot was a consequence of this league.” (page 12-13).
in State v. Kishori and Shabnam
(Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.45/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ
S.N.Dhingra noted that no effort was also made by the police to recover
weapons, the recovery of which would have strengthened the case of the
It is submitted by the counsel for accused that nor recovery of any arm
has been made by the police. The alleged Khanjar or any arm from the rioters has not been
recovered. True this is
exactly (what the) police has done to help the rioters.
The police did not recover either looted property or arms and how
could the police recovered all these things?
All along during the riots police of Trilokpuri had been tacitly
encouraging the rioters and after the riot, it had been tacitly
encouraging the rioters and after the riot, it had been announcing that
the looted property should be deposited on the road and police will take
it away. The
role of the police all along the riots was that of tacitly helping
the rioters by nor implementing the law and remaining absent from the spot
most of the time. Non
recovery of the instruments of crime is therefore of no consequence in
this case.” (page 9-10)
That the negligence of the police was not just limited to the
manner in which the investigation was conducted as in State v. Abdul
Aziz and others. (Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.35/94 FIR No.340/84) ASJ S.S.
Bal), which was one of the few cases where the police had seized looted
property from the custody of the accused.
The Court was shocked to note that prior to the disposal of the
case the police has auctioned off the case property, the benefit of which
went to the accused.
also recovered TV transformer box white colour and one girder iron from
the accused Abdul Aziz vide memo Ex. PW 4/C but these articles were not
produced in the Court as they were auctioned as per report submitted by
PW.6. In these
circumstances the witness was unable to identify the case property
recovered from the accused Abdul Aziz… It is amazing to note that the
case property in this case has been auctioned by Nazarat of the District
Court while the case was still pending trial in court.
Neither the prosecution, nor Incharge Mohrar Malkhana, nor SHO PS
concerned nor IO of this case took care to preserve the case property till
its production in the Court. This
amounts to gross negligence and grave dereliction of the duties on the
part of the officials concerned on account of which the guilty has escaped
the rigour of law and the prosecution case could not succeed.
Copy of this judgment be sent to the Home Secretary for information
and necessary directions to all the Police Stations to avoid recurrence
such omission of duty in future.” (page 5).
That the casual and shoddy manner in which the police had
deliberately conducted the investigation tainted every aspect of the
prosecution evidence, including the nor preparation of site plans, the non
collection of corroborative evidence, failure to conduct post mortems to
ascertain cause of death with a clear view to scuttle the cases.
State v Babu Lal & Ors.
(Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. Nos 21/95, 29/95, 2/97, 3/97. 5/97.
FIR No.426/84 ) ASJ O.P.Dwivedi noted the statements of the investigating
P.W.-14 SI Badam Singh was entrusted
with the investigation of this case on 20.4.93 after the receipt of
recommendation from Jain Agarwal Committee… In cross examination, he
admitted that he did not prepare any site plan of the spot nor applied for
holding TIP of accused persons.” Page 8
in State v Mangal ( Karkardooma , Delhi S.C. No.51/95, FIR No.426/84) ASJ
O.P.Dwivedi noted that,
already stated, neither any inquest proceedings were conducted nor even
dead body of Mohan Singh or of any other riot victim was got identified
nor the post mortem examination reports were filed on record.
Even a rough site plan of the scene of crime was not prepared.
Investigation was conducted in a most perfunctory and casual
manner.” (page 4).
State v Kishori & Ors. (Karkardooma,
Delhi, S.C. No.53/95 FIR No.426/84) ASJ O.P.Dwivedi observed that,
the above it seems that all that the police did in the name of
investigation was recording of a brief statement of Mansa Singh dt.
17.11.84 by Insp. R.P.Tyagi. It
may be that since most of the dead bodies were burnt, it might not have
been possible to identify them and that is why no post mortem examination
was done but from the statement of IO it appears that he did not even make
any effort in that direction.” (page 7)
State v. Mahender Sharma & Ors.
(Karkardooma, Delhi, S.C. No.54/94 FIR No.346/84) ASJ S.S.Bal
commenting on the gross negligence on the part of the police collecting
corroborative documents noted that,
in the present case, surprisingly, no corroborative evidence was collected
by the police in shops of ration cards or any other type of evidence i.e
voter list to establish beyond shadow of any reasonable doubt that at the
time of occurrence at least Sunder Singh was living in the hut in
question. In the case in hand
the prosecution has relied upon the testimonies of P.W. 2 and 3 to prove
the death of the deceased persons, who have stated on oath that the
deceased in this case were killed and burnt by the mob.
Their testimony is direct to prove the death of the deceased namely
Gurcharan Singh, Gurbux Singh and Shanker Singh.
However, it is (hard to) imagine that no other evidence except bare
testimony of these two P.W.s in the form of death certificate and ration
card of vorter list to show their existence has been placed on record by
the prosecution.” Page 7.
State v. Shyam Vir (Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.34/95, FIR No.426/84)
ASJ S.N.Dhingra noted that,
is not only that police did not do its duty of investigating the crime
properly but it is that police deliberately did not collect the evidence
against the accused persons who were involved in this fiendish act of
murder of more than 200 persons in one Block.
The record filed with the court shows that the police was a party
in protecting the accused persons and in wiping out the evidence against
the accused persons.” (page 38-39)
it is believed that upto 3.11.84, the situation was such that it was
beyond the control of the police… then the subsequent investigation of
these crimes would have been done honestly by the police and the criminals
and rioters, would have been brought to book.
But the subsequent conduct of the police, in saving the rioters and
in destroying the evidence would compel any court to draw an adverse
inference against police and the investigating agency being hand in glove
with the rioters and acting under the direction of those unseen powerful
persons who were behind all this.”
That the international reluctance of the police as the
investigating agency to examine avenues such as the laws of conspiracy to
tackle the complexity and scale of the crimes committed in November 1984
enabled those whose had engineered and master minded this orgy of violence
to escape judicial scrutiny. In State v. Mangal (Karkardooma,
Delhi S.C. No.51/95 FIR No.426/84) ASJ O.P.Dwivedi noted that,
riots in Delhi followed definite pattern which indicated that there was
some planning, prior conspiracy but the conspiracy angle was totally
overlooked during investigation.
Thus, ‘eye of the storm’ remained elusive.
Even after the riots were over, nor serious effort was made to book
the guilty with an honest intention of getting them punished through a
Court verdict. The dead
bodies were not identified, no inquests were held.
The statements of victims were not properly recorded/catalogued.
Even the formalities of preparing a site plan of the scene of
occurrence was not observed. The
Courts have shown full sympathy for the victims but within limits,
constraints prescribed by law. The
Court cannot pronounce a verdict of guilty against any one when the proof
is not of the requisite standard.” (page 19)
That upon a careful consideration of all the 137 judgements in the
representative sample, it is clear that the lapses in investigation
detailed in the preceding paragraphs are indicative of the police
functioning not as an agent of the rule of law but as an agent of the
ruling party. That
undoubtedly the Delhi police force displayed an institutional bias against
the Sikh Community in the investigation of these cases. Similar partisan behavior of the police force against
minority communities has been documented in detail in the Justice Sri
Krishna Report on the Bombay riots of 1993-93 and can be seen once again
in the recent outbreak of violence in Gujarat.
It is pertinent to note that the Police Commissioner of Ahmedabad,
Mr. P.C. Pandey when questioned on police inaction in controlling the
violence, has stated on record, that the police are not immune from
That in their quest for justice, hundreds of victims have been
appearing before the Courts of Delhi.
However the machinations of the police, to please their political
masters at the time the Congress (I) compounded by the inordinate delays
in the trials, ensured that justice eluded most of the victims of the
violence and killings.
State v. Shayam Vir (Karkardooma, Delhi, S.C. No.34/95, FIR No.426/84)
ASJ S.N.Dhingra noted that,
is tragic that criminal justice administration has been administered
differently for different persons. It
has been nothing but a paper tiger against anti-social combinations,
against rich and influential offenders, and it has proved to be a paper
bonanza for socially oppressed and suppressed victims.
49 years after independence, our guilty by default or dubiety on
the charge of ineffectiveness of criminal justice system against (the)
rich, (the) influential or those who wield political power has been proved
beyond reasonable doubt as
the cases against these either do not reach to the courts and when they
reach… are seldom finalized and the blood, tears cries of victims go
That it is imperative that the police force, which is increasingly
becoming a threat to the democratic institutions of the country, is
insulated from political interference made accountable to the people and
effective steps taken to ensure that delinquent police officers no longer
that if the confidence of all peoples and communities is to be
restored in democratic governance and the legal system, justice must
necessarily be a precursor to reconciliation.
I, Vrinda Grover, d/o late Sh. P.P.Grover, do hereby verify that
the contents of paras 1 to 18 are true and correct to my knowledge and
belief and nothing material has been concealed thereof.
Verified at Delhi on this the 4th of March, 2002.
TABLE OF CASES
State v. Ram Pal
Saroj (Karkardooma Court,
Delhi, S.C.No.57/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Amir Chand (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.39/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Kishori (Karkardooma Court, Delhi, S.C.No.52/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Kishori and
Shabnam, (Karkardooma Court,
Delhi, S.C.No.45/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Kishori (Karkardooma Court, Delhi, S.C.No.42/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Rama Dhol
Wala and Ors.(Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No. FIR No.426/84)
State v. Kishori & Ors.(Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.38/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Kishori & Ors.(Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.67/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Kishori
& Ors.(Karkardooma Court,
Delhi, S.C.No.53/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Abdullah
Khan etc. (Karkardooma Court,
Delhi, S.C.No.40/95 FIR No.426/84)
v. Kishori & Ors. (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.19/95 FIR No.426/84)
v. Kanak Singh (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.18/95 FIR No.426/84)
Ashok Kumar v. State
of Delhi 1995
(1) Crimes 347).
v. Kishori Bhangi (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.80/94 FIR No.361/91)
v. Kishor & Ors. (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.78/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Salim &
Others (Karkardooma Court,
Delhi, S.C.No.43/95 FIR No.426/84)
v. Ved Prakash etc. (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.70/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Kishori
& Ors. (Karkardooma Court,
Delhi, S.C.No.70/95 FIR No.426/84)
Manohar Lal alias
Munna and Anr v. The State (N.C.T of Delhi) (2000 1 AD (S.C. 52)
State v. Satypal @
Satti (Karkardooma Court,
Delhi, S.C.No.4/97 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Mangal (Karkardooma Court, Delhi, S.C.No.51/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. H.K.L.
Bhagat (Karkardooma Court,
Delhi, S.C.No.54/95 FIR No.426/84)
State v. Ashok (Karkardooma Court, Delhi, S.C.No.12/96 FIR No.426/84)
24.State v. Om Prkash & Ors. (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.46/94
25 State v. Umed Singh Saini &
another (Karkardooma Court,
v. Latif Ali & Ors. (Karkardooma Court, Delhi, S.C.No.36/94 FIR
v. Arjun Dass (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.32/94 FIR No.112/91)
v. Suresh & Ors. (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.33/94 FIR No.182/91)
v. Abdul Aziz & Ors.(Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.35/95 FIR No.340/84)
v. Babu Lal & Ors. (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.21/95, 29/95, 2/97, 3/97, 5/97 FIR No.426/84)
v. Mahender Sharma & Ors. (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.54/94 FIR No.346/84)
v. Shyam Vir (Karkardooma
Court, Delhi, S.C.No.34/95 FIR No.426/84)