‘How Much Time Will You Take’? Delhi HC Demands Status Update of 2020 Riots Cases from Police

2020 Delhi Riots

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the city police to provide an update on the status of criminal cases related to the riots that occurred in the national capital in February 2020.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain observed that there were over 750 FIRs filed following the violence, with investigations still pending in 273 cases.

The court instructed the Delhi Police to submit a fresh status report on the cases within 10 days.

“Respondent is directed to file a current status report regarding the cases within 10 days,” ordered the bench.

The communal clashes erupted in North East Delhi on February 24, 2020, following escalated violence between supporters of the citizenship law and protesters, resulting in at least 53 fatalities and around 700 injuries.

The court was addressing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, seeking the establishment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to conduct an independent probe into the riots. The petitioner argued that an SIT should be formed, especially in cases where charge sheets have not yet been filed.

During the proceedings, the court noted that while the cases were registered in 2020, many were still pending. The court queried the police about the delay, stating, “How much time will you take? That was 2020 and we have entered 2024.”

“Total cases registered is 757; transferred to crime branch 62; number of cases charge sheeted 367; number of cases pending trial 250 and pending investigation is 273. Therefore, pending cases are 273 as on April 2. So many cases,” remarked the court.

The petitioner had approached the high court in March 2020, seeking various reliefs, including the preservation of CCTV footage related to the northeast Delhi riots. The PIL asserted that FIRs had not been lodged against those responsible for the riots, alleging that the police were refusing to accept complaints naming specific accused individuals and instead insisting on complaints against unknown persons.

The matter is scheduled for the next hearing on April 29, 2024.

Additionally, PILs filed by other petitioners seeking investigations by independent bodies and FIRs against several political leaders for allegedly delivering hate speeches are also pending in the high court.

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