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No prejudice due to police order on ‘Hindu resentment’, chargesheets already filed — Delhi HC

Quoting intel inputs, 8 July police letter had said arrests of some Hindu youth created resentment in community. HC said media reports on this were 'against letter and spirit' of the order.

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday rejected a petition challenging the order passed by Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) Praveer Ranjan on 8 July to senior officers heading probe teams for the Delhi riots on the arrest of Hindu youths in Northeast Delhi.

Ranjan’s letter had quoted intelligence inputs to say “arrests of some Hindu youth from Chand Bagh and Khajuri Khas areas of North-East Delhi recently in connection with Delhi riots has led to a degree of resentment among the Hindu community there”.

“Community representatives are alleging that these arrests are made without any evidence and are even insinuating that such arrests are being made for some personal reasons,” the letter had added, directing the officers to exercise due care and precautions while arresting anybody.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Northeast Delhi resident Sahil Parvez, who had lost his father, and Mohammad Saeed Salman, who had lost his mother, in the riots that took place in February.

The petitioners had demanded that the letter be quashed and disciplinary inquiry initiated against the SP for issuing the order.

The petition was filed after a report was published in The Indian Express on 15 July, titled ‘Resentment in Hindus on arrests, take care: Special CP to probe teams’.

However, the court refused to quash this order, stating that no prejudice had been caused as it was issued after the accused were chargesheeted in the case.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait also added a cautionary note for the media, observing that news reports on the letter were “against the letter and spirit of the order” issued by Ranjan.

“Therefore, it is suggested that media being the fourth pillar of democracy, news should be cleared after verifying the facts so that no prejudice is caused to anyone or hatred is spread among communities in this country,” the court noted.

Also read: Court rejects bail plea of 4 men accused of killing 85-year-old Muslim woman in Delhi riots

‘Deal with cases in accordance with law’

In its judgment, the court noted that all cases related to the Delhi riots had been registered before the letter was issued on 8 July, and in some of these cases, chargesheets had also been filed.

The court was also told by the police authorities that till date 535 Hindus and 513 Muslims have been chargesheeted in all the cases.

“Since in my considered opinion, the accused persons have already been chargesheeted before issuance of letter dated 08.07.2020, no prejudice has been caused,” Justice Kait observed, rejecting the petition.

The letter had also ordered all probe teams to discuss all evidence with the special public prosecutors assigned for each case.

However, the court has now ordered them to not do so and deal with the cases in “accordance with law”.

“The IOs of the cases shall deal with the cases in accordance with law and shall not take into consideration about instructions issued vide order dated 08.07.2020, whereby it is stated that the evidences must be discussed with Special PPs assigned to each case.”

Also read: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta withdraws from Delhi riots case ‘out of disgust’ after spat

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