Karkardooma Judge, Critical of Delhi Police Probe in Riots Cases, Transferred
ASJ Yadav had stated that police’s failure to conduct a proper investigation will torment "sentinels of democracy."
A judge at Delhi's Karkardooma Court, Vinod Yadav, who was hearing several cases related to the northeast Delhi riots, has been transferred by the Delhi HC to a CBI court in the same city.
As per a Delhi High Court order, that came on 6 October, a total of 11 judicial officers have been transferred. This includes four Additional Sessions Judges, including Yadav, who was at the Karkardooma court, and seven Metropolitan Magistrates.
Yadav has been posted as a Special Judge at a CBI court in Delhi's Rouse Avenue, replacing Special Judge Virender Bhatt. Bhatt and Yadav are to switch places.
Day Before Transfer, ASJ Yadav Had Said 'Policemen Lied Under Oath'
While hearing a case pertaining to the Delhi riots, on 5 October, ASJ Yadav observed that an assistant sub-inspector and a head constable had given contradictory statements.
The court had been examining two complaints regarding vandalism of properties during the thick of the riots, on 26 February 2020, against four accused.
The head constable said that he could recognise three of the four accused. The assistant SI said he could not identify any of them. Meanwhile, the investigating officer in the case said there was nothing on record to prove that the three accused were even investigated, according to PTI.
After hearing the statements, the ASJ observed, “Prima facie, one of the police witnesses is lying on oath punishable under Section 193 of IPC... This is a very sorry state of affairs.”
The concerned Section is regarding the punishment for giving false evidence.
He sought a report from the Deputy Commissioner of Police (northeast) in this regard.
ASJ Vinod Yadav Slapped a Fine of Rs 25,000 on Delhi Police
ASJ Vinod Yadav has passed several strong observations against the probe of the Delhi Police into the northeast Delhi riots.
The most significant of the lot was when he not only condemned the police investigation and conduct – where they were refusing to register an FIR despite a lower court's order – but also fined the concerned Delhi Police Station House Officer (SHO) and his supervisors Rs 25,000.
The order read:
"I do not find any merit in this revision petition. The same accordingly stands dismissed with a cost of Rs.25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand Only) which shall be deposited with Delhi Legal Services Authority by DCP (NorthEast) within one week from today and the said amount shall be recovered from the petitioner and his supervising officers, who have miserably failed in their statutory duties in this case after holding a due inquiry in this regard."
He also called the police investigation 'callous and farcical' and said that the concerned petitioner (SHO of Bhajanpura police station) and his supervising officers (from the Delhi Police) 'had miserably failed in their statutory duties in this case.'
Yadav wrote this order in a case where the Delhi Police had approached his court against a lower court's order, that directed them to register an FIR on the complaint of a Delhi riots victim. The victim, Mohammad Nasir, had lost his eye during the violence.
The police has moved the Delhi HC against Yadav's order and the court has stayed the fine. Among the grounds cited are 'serious dent to the reputation of the officers' and the 'overburdening of courts.'
The matter is being heard.
Other Observations by ASJ Yadav on the Probe
While discharging Tahir Hussain's brother and two others, ASJ Yadav made several important comments about the probe:
“This does not appeal to senses that nobody watched such a large crowd of rioters when they were on a spree of vandalism, looting and arson. The complaint was required to be investigated with a fair amount of sensitivity and skilfulness, but the same is missing in this investigation."
He said that while looking at the investigation, the impression it gave was that no "real efforts were made to trace out eye witnesses, real accused persons and technical evidence" in the matter.
He went so far as to say that on looking at the case, the police official who gave his statement seemed to have been planted. The order read, "This silence and delay on the part of Constable Gyan Singh is not only fatal to the case of the investigating agency, but it also gives the impression that he has been ‘planted/ introduced’ to solve the case in hand."
“I am not able to restrain myself from observing that when history will look back at the worst communal riots since partition in Delhi, it is the failure of investigating agency to conduct proper investigation by using latest scientific methods, will surely torment the sentinels of democracy,” Yadav had said at the hearing.
In another case, during a court hearing on framing of charges against an accused called Rohit, ASJ Yadav said the investigation 'was inefficient but the statement of the victim could not be ignored'.
"Be that as it may, it is worth noting that investigation in the matter appears to be highly callous, inefficient and unproductive; however, as noted earlier this Court cannot ignore the statements of the victims," he noted.
While framing charges against one Ashraf Ali, ASJ Yadav said that it was painful to note how the investigation was poor. His comment was not only about this specific case, but about the quality of the police probe in general.
“It is painful to note that in a large number of cases of riots, the standard of investigation is very poor and in a majority of cases investigating officers (IOs) have not been appearing in court."
"It is high time that the DCP of Northeast District and other higher officers take notice of the observations and take immediate remedial action required in the matters and seek the assistance of experts in this regard, failing which there is a likelihood of injustice being caused to the persons involved in these cases.”
“This case is a glaring example, wherein victims are police personnel itself, yet the IO did not bother to collect the sample of acid and to have its chemical analysis. The IO has further not bothered to collect the opinion about the nature of injuries."
In the case pertaining to the investigation into the violence at Madina Masjid during the riots, the court spoke of the police's lackadaisical attitude in conducting their probe. A saffron flag was hoisted atop this mosque in Shiv Vihar.
“The police was not even aware that an FIR had already been registered at Karawal Nagar (police station) by the time respondent had approached the court of learned ACMM with his petition. The investigating agency was duty-bound to have apprised the learned ACMM of the entire facts and place complete material before it, which admittedly has not been done."
“Admittedly, the fact regarding registration of FIR had not been made available to the learned ACMM (North-East) at the time of passing of impugned order. Even no mention regarding registration of case FIR was ever made by the investigating agency before the said Court. This prima facie reflects the callous attitude/negligence on the part of the investigating agency, as it was incumbent upon it to have placed complete material before the learned ACMM (North-East)."
ASJ Yadav Also Highlighted the 'Agony of the Victim and Complainants'
In the case where Tahir Hussain's brother and two others were discharged, ASJ Yadav penned an order that reflected how bad investigation affects the victim and the complainant.
Some of the crucial things he said included:
“This Court cannot permit such cases to meander mindlessly in the corridors of the judicial system, sweeping away precious judicial time of this Court when the same is open and shut case. The casualty in the matter is the pain and agony suffered by complainant/victim, whose case has virtually remained unsolved; callous and indolent investigation; lack of supervision by the superior officers of the investigation and criminal wastage of the time and money of the taxpayer."
“... a large number of accused persons who have been languishing in jail for the last about one and half years merely on account of the fact that the trial in their cases are not being initiated.”
(With inputs from PTI)
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