A Delhi court has allowed police to file a supplementary charge sheet after examining the relevant witnesses to correct records in a case pertaining to the 2020 riots in northeast Delhi.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi in February 2020, after violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and over 700 injured.
The court allowed the police to file the supplementary charge sheet by examining the relevant witnesses for the incident of rioting on February 24, 2020, after noting the prosecution's submission that investigating officer (IO) had committed a “human error” by mixing the facts with a February 25, 2020 incident.
The prosecution told the court that “since at the relevant time, police was also engaged in multiple work including restoring peace, heavy law and order, therefore, IO committed human error by examining them in respect of incident of February 25, 2020 rather than February 24, 2020 in this case.”
It further submitted that ideally, the IO should have examined the witnesses in this case in respect to the incident of February 24, it said. Noting that the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) of northeast district was the disciplinary and controlling authority, the court also modified its earlier direction seeking an inquiry regarding actions and omissions on the part of the IO from the commissioner of police.
The court instead sought an inquiry report from the DCP concerned. The court also refused to waive the prosecution's plea seeking waiver of cost.
“As far as waiver of cost is concerned, since the court had directed for payment of this cost to the accused persons, therefore, unless the accused persons are heard on this point, no order at this stage can be passed,” the court said in its order dated August 8.
On August 6, the court had noted that there were at least five witnesses who were incorrectly shown as relevant witnesses in the case. “All these witnesses did not say anything in respect of incidents dated February 24, which are the subject matter of present trial,” Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala said.
The judge also noted other omissions, such as the IO using his discretion to pick name of the accused.
Saying that “the actions and omissions on part of the IO and prosecution” were a “wastage of court's time,” and an “eyewash,” the judge had imposed a cost of Rs 15,000 on the prosecution, which was to be equally distributed among the three accused being tried in the case.
“Before next date of hearing, prosecution must take sufficient steps and it is further repeated (similar directions have already been given in the past to all the special public prosecutors related to this kind of cases) to obtain summons for only relevant witnesses for the purpose of trial in the case and at the same time to make themselves aware of the case, so that they drop unnecessary and irrelevant witnesses on their own in advance and without wasting time of the court," the judge said.
The matter has been posted for further hearing on August 18.
(With PTI Inputs)