A Muslim man charged in a 2020 northeast Delhi riots case was acquitted by a district court in the city.
In the courtroom: The ruling was made by Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Shirish Aggarwal of Karkardooma Courts, according to a LiveLaw report on Saturday, 10 June.
The defendant, Noor Mohammad, had been charged with rioting and unlawful assembly punishable under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the report said.
The court also criticised the Delhi Police over the eyewitness testimony of a head constable.
“It is hard to fathom that a police officer who is courageous enough to make efforts for stopping the mob just stood there as a mute spectator when the rioting and plundering was taking place...No explanation has been given by the said witness who is a police officer for standing by and just watching and waiting...He did not even deem it fit to make a video of the offence being committed, even though he was at a relatively safe distance," the court reportedly said.
Case details: Noor Mohammad was already being interrogated at the Khajuri Khas police station, as per the prosecution.
Complainant Mohd Rashid arrived and identified Noor as being part of the mob that allegedly burnt down his shop.
However, the complainant reportedly turned hostile and failed to identify Noor as the offender.
Later, a beat officer posted in the area said that he had seen who had burnt down Rashid's store.
But he too back-pedalled, as per the report.
Poking holes: “It is hard to believe that a police officer who has witnessed an offence being committed in his area of posting did not make any complaint in this regard. He [the head constable] never reported the matter at his police station for registration of FIR. He did not call up 100 number for seeking immediate police aid. He did not make any attempt to arrest any of the offenders,” the court said.
"Since TIP [Test Identification Parade] of the accused was not conducted by the police for identification by the complainant, it can be inferred that it was not carried out since the police was already aware that its case is fabricated and the accused has been shown as the offender only for solving of this case," the court said.
“The fact that the State falsely cited the complainant [Mohd Rashid] as a witness who can identify the accused as the offender, indicates that the case of the prosecution that the offence was committed by the accused Noor Mohammad is false,” it added.
Of note: The court also said that "it is the tendency of the police witnesses to speak in line with the police case. Delhi police being a disciplined force, a Head Constable is under the influence of the SHO and the supervisory police officers. It appears that his statement was procured and prepared falsely and belatedly to solve this case."