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2020 Delhi Riots: Can't Wait Endlessly For Forensic Report, Says Delhi HC Hearing Anthem Case

The deceased's mother Kismatun moved high court in 2020 seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into the death of her 23-year-old son Faizan. In a viral video, Faizan could be seen being beaten purportedly by policemen while being forced to sing the national anthem and 'Vande Mataram'.

Delhi High Court
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday said it cannot wait "endlessly" for a forensic report connected to the death of a man allegedly forced to sing the national anthem during the 2020 riots and listed for April 3 an in-chamber hearing of a plea for an impartial probe.

The deceased's mother Kismatun moved high court in 2020 seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into the death of her 23-year-old son Faizan. In a viral video, Faizan could be seen being beaten purportedly by policemen while being forced to sing the national anthem and 'Vande Mataram'.

While the Delhi Police counsel said forensic analysis of certain video footage was yet to be concluded by the National Forensic Sciences University in Gujarat which has now asked for similar hard disks for "reference", the petitioner's counsel asserted that the report is not central the issue of directing a court-monitored SIT probe.

"I will have to put a stop to the whole forensic examination that is going on in Gujarat. I can't wait for it endlessly," said Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani.

"They will carry on. I will not take a view of the forensic report. It (analysis) has to be within some reasonable time. This can't be a never-ending process. The process has to end," the judge added.

The court observed that the analysis was pending for almost 10 months -- first in Delhi and now in Gujarat -- and questioned how providing fresh hard disks for "reference" would facilitate the process when the extraction of data from the DVR sent for examination was unsuccessful earlier.

"How will that help? I am not an expert but there is something called common sense. This is a merry-go-round," the court remarked.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said he would proceed without waiting for the report any longer and urged the court to permit him to make submission in-chamber without the presence of the petitioner or her lawyer as the matter pertains to "wider investigation".

The court said it will first hold the in-chamber hearing in the absence of the petitioner and if it is found that the submissions pertain only to the deceased, the petitioner's counsel would also be heard.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the deceased's mother who is the petitioner, submitted that the forensic analysis report was not required for this plea and that the SIT can look into it once the matter is transferred to it.

"It has been four years since my son was buried. Let me not bury my hopes for justice," Grover said, alleging that the Delhi Police was not carrying out an impartial probe into the "custodial murder" as there have been no arrests or custodial interrogation despite the law not providing any "special protection" to the police.

The woman claimed that the fatal injuries suffered by her son due to police beatings were clear in the postmortem report. She claimed that the police illegally detained her son and denied him critical healthcare due to which he succumbed to the injuries on February 26, 2020, after being released.

She has claimed that Faizan was first assaulted by a group of police personnel, as seen in the video footage, then detained illegally, assaulted and denied medical care in the police station.

Earlier, the city police told the court that it has preserved its original records, such as daily diaries, arrest memos and duty roster, in connection with the death and the investigation into the matter was ongoing and the documents are in the safe custody of a responsible police officer and can be produced before the court if asked.

The police had also told the high court that the case involved "technical evidence" and the investigation had “zeroed down a head constable making the video” and not assaulting the victim and that no stone was being left unturned in the probe.

Communal clashes had broken out in North East Delhi in February 2020, after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 700 injured.

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