Court allows Sajjan Kumar’s plea in 1984 riots case (Lead)August 3rd, 2012 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Friday allowed Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s plea to use the statements of a victim of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots to defend himself.
Justice Pratibha Rani set aside the June 2 trial court order that dismissed Sajjan Kumar’s plea and observed that he be given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself in the trial.
Sajjan Kumar is accused of instigating a mob to attack and kill Sikhs after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi Oct 31, 1984.
“Accused (Sajjan Kumar) has a right to get a fair trial. It is essential that the accused is given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself in the trial. He is also permitted to confront the witnesses and other evidence that the prosecution is relying upon,” said the court.
Justice Rani also observed that it was the duty of the court to ensure that accused got a fair trial, and he had to be afforded a reasonable opportunity to defend himself.
The court said: “Since it is the duty of the court to ensure that accused gets a fair trial, he has to be afforded a reasonable opportunity to defend himself by permitting him to confront the witnesses and other evidence relied upon by the prosecution”.
“Learned trial court by curtailing this right of the accused had denied him his right to have a fair trial,” the order said, asking both parties to appear before the trial court Aug 6.
Sajjan Kumar had moved the high court challenging the trial court order that disallowed him to use a statement of complainant and key witness Jagdish Kaur to defend himself.
The trial court is hearing the case against Kumar and five others accused of inciting mobs against the Sikh community during the riots.
Sajjan Kumar had said that Jagdish Kaur’s affidavits and statements given to judicial commissions that probed the riots should be allowed to be used to confront her with her recent testimony in the ongoing trial.
Sajjan Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Delhi, said that CBI prosecutor R.S. Cheema had made a statement in the court July 12, 2010, that Jagdish Kaur’s affidavits in the case and statement to the G.T. Nanavati and Ranganath Misra Commissions, which inquired into the riots, could not be used as they were contradictory.
The CBI said that as per the provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Act, the affidavits and statements of a witness given before any commission could not be used against her for the purpose of questioning her testimony.
The case against Sajjan Kumar was lodged on the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission. In January 2010, the CBI filed two chargesheets against him and others.
Sajjan Kumar and five others were booked under sections 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief to cause damage to property), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
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Tags: affidavits, anti sikh riots, complainant, congress leader, court justice, delhi high court, indira gandhi, kaur, key witness, Lok Sabha, mobs, New Delhi, oct 31, plea, prime minister indira, prosecution, sajjan kumar, sikh community, sikhs, trial court