MEMORANDUM OF ACTION TAKEN ON THE REPORT OF JUSTICE G.T. NANAVATI COMMISSION OF INQUIRY SET UP TO INQUIRE INTO RIOTS OF 1984.
In exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952(60 of 1952), the Government had appointed a Commission of Inquiry under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice G. T. Nanavati, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India vice the Ministry of Home Affairs Notification No. 441(E) dated 8th May, 2000 to inquire into certain matters connected win riots which took place in the National Capital Territory of Delhi and other parts of the country on and after 31st October, 1984 in the wake of assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India.
2. The terms of reference assigned to the Commission were as follows:
(a) to enquire into the causes and course of the criminal violence and riots targeting members of the Sikh community which took place in the NCT of Delhi and other parts of the country on 31St October, 1984 and thereafter;
(b) the sequence of the events leading to and all the facts relating to such violence and riots;
(c) whether these heinous crimes could have been averted and whether there were any lapses or dereliction of duty in this regard on the part of any of the responsible authorities/individuals;
(d) to enquire into the adequacy of the administrative measures taken to prevent and to deal with the said violence and riots;
(e) to recommend measures which may be adopted to meet the ends of the justice;
(f) to consider such matters as may be found relevant in the course of the inquiry.
3. The Commission was required to submit its report to the Union Government as soon as possible but not later than six months from the date of its first sitting. However, since the Commission was not in a position to complete the inquiry within the prescribed time limit, its tenure was extended from time to time.
4) Justice G. T. Nanavati presented the Report of the Commission to the Union Home Minister on 9th February, 2005. The Report of the Commission is in two volumes - Volume I consisting of the main report and Volume II consisting of annexures. The main report is in four parts as indicated below:
Part I - Introduction
Part II - Proceedings
Part III- Evidence
Part IV - Assessment of Evidence and Recommendations for Action
5. The Commission has made a number of general observations about the role of Delhi Police. It has been mentioned that the Police personnel remained passive and did not provide protection to the people. The Commission has also stated that if timely action had been taken by the police against the persons indulging in riots, probably many lives could have been saved. The Government has noted all such general observations for taking appropriate remedial action and to advise Delhi Police (and State Governments) to ensure that the police personnel perform their duties properly in such situations in future.
6. The Commission has, inter alia, also observed that (a) such riots should be controlled effectively, (b) the Police should function independently; and (c) all complaints should be registered and investigated by independent agencies. The Government endorses these observations and it has decided to advise the State Governments, Union Territories and Delhi Police to take necessary action accordingly.
. 7.The Commission has also recommended that the Government should take steps to see that all the affected persons throughout the country are paid compensation uniformly at an early date and one member of the family, which has lost all its earning male members and which has no other sufficient means of livelihood, is provided employment.The Government has accepted these recommendations.Necessary follow up action will be taken to implement these recommendations.
8. The Commission has made specific recommendations against some individuals and recommended re-examination or re-investigation of some of the cases relating to them. Similarly, the Commission has also made specific recommendations against some Police personnel for their failure to perform their duties properly. The Government has considered all such recommendations and decided to look into such cases and take appropriate action as mentioned below:
Observations/recommendations of Justice Nanavati Commission of Enquiry
1. It appears to the Commission that Hoshiar Singh and his men did not take effective steps to protect the Gurudwara and to disperse the mob which had gathered there. Not a single person from the mob which had entered the Gurudwara or was trying to enter the Gurudwara was apprehended by him or by his team. No force appears to have been used by them to check the riotous crowd. The fact that the mob was big cannot justify inaction on his part and the other policemen. It is a clear case of dereliction of duty on the part of Shri Hoshiar Singh and the policemen who were posted there and therefore the Commission recommends that the Government should initiate appropriate action against him and those policemen who were with him. (Page 143-144 of the Report).
The Government has noted with concern the conduct of the Police officials mentioned by the Commission. However, since these officials have retired from service, there are legal difficulties in initiating any departmental proceedings at this point of time. Shri Hoshiar Singh, Sub-Inspector retired from service on 31.1.1998. The two Constables, who were on duty with him, have also retired. Disciplinary action under the CCS (CC&A) Rules,1965 can be taken only against a serving government servant. Further, action under Pension Rules is possible only in respect of an event which took place within 4 years before institution of the proceeding. However, Government would examine this matter further in consultation with the Ministry of Law for appropriate action.
2. The Commission is of the view that there is credible evidence against Shri Dharam Das Shastri who was a Congress (I) leader of the locality, that he had instigated his men Shri Tek Chand Sharmna and Shri Rajinder Singh to organize attack on Sikhs. The Commission recommends to the Government that it should examine the relevant material and direct investigation or further investigation as may be found necessary with respect to the aforesaid allegations. (Page146-147 of the Report)
It may be mentioned that then incident was earlier investigated in connection with FIR No.867/84 PS Karol Bagh and charge sheet was filed in the court against 10 persons. On completion of trial, the Court of Shri S.S.Bal, Additional Sessions Judge, New Delhi vice judgment dated 19.12.1992 had convicted two of the accused,namely, Shri Tek Chand Sharma and Shri Rajinder and acquitted; the rest. Shri Dharamdas Shastri was not named as an accused in this case.
However, as recommended by the Commission, the Government would examine the factual position for appropriate action.
. Nanavati Commission:
3. The Commission considers it safe to record a finding that there is credible evidence against Shri Jagdish Tytler to the effect that very probably he had a hand in organizing attacks on Sikhs.The Commission, therefore, recommends to the Government to look into this aspect and take further action as may be found necessary. (Page 153 of the Report)
The Commission has stated that "very probably" he had a hand in organizing attacks on Sikhs. It is clear from this observation that the Commission itself was not absolutely sure about his involvement in such attacks. It may be pointed out that in criminal cases, a person cannot be prosecuted simply on the basis of "probability."
The incidents regarding arson and looting in the area of PS Bara Hindu Rao, burning of Gurudwara Pul Bangash and killing of Shri Thakur Singh and Shri Badal Singh on 31.10.1984 and 1.11.1984 were investigated in connection with FIR No. 315/84 and FIR No. 316/84 PS Bara Hindu Rao. On completion of investigation in FIR No. 315/84, 9 challans were filed in which 14 persons were accused and 10 persons were cited as prosecution witnesses. After completion of trial, 13 of the accused persons were convicted and one person was declared as proclaimed offender by the court of Shri R.P. Tiwari, Metropolitan Magistrate, Tis Hazari vice judgment dated 17.7.1997. Similarly, in FIR No. 316184 PS Bara Hindu Rao, 31 persons were arrested and challaned and 21 persons were cited as prosecution witnesses. On completion of trial, the Court of Shri J.B. Goel, Addl Sessions Judge, Tis Hazari, acquitted all the 31 accused persons vice judgement dated 10.4.1992. Shri Jagdish Tytler was not named as an accused in these cases.
In view of the fact that the Commission itself is not certain that Shri Tytler had a role in organizing the attacks on Sikhs and in the context of the judicial verdicts on the incidents mentioned in the Commission's report, any further action will not be justified.
4. The Commission observed that in view of the statements of the witnesses, departmental inquiry ought to have been initiated against Sub-Inspector Mange Ram to find out whether there was any dereliction of duty on his part. The Commission, therefore, recommends that the Government should direct an inquiry to be held against him. (Page 154 of the Report)
The Government is concerned to note the conduct of the Police officer. However, since he has retired from service, there are legal hurdles in initiating any departmental action at this point of time. This has been explained in response to the recommendation at serial No.1. However, the Government would examine this matter further in consultation with Ministry of Law for appropriate action.
. Nanavati Commission:
5. On the basis of the material on record with respect to the incidents which happened in South District, it appeared to the Commission that Dr. Chander Prakash who was the DCP of the area, Shri O.P. Yadav, Station House Officer of Police Station Srinivaspuri, Shri Rohtash Singh, Station House Officer of Police Station Delhi Cantt., Shri Ram Phal, Station House Officer of Police Station Hazrat Nizamuddin, SI Ved Prakash of Police Station Srinivaspuri, SI Ishwar Singh of Police Station Srinivaspuri, Head Constable Shakti Singh of Jangpura Police Post and Head Constable Mahinder Singh of Police Station Sriniwaspuri had not performed their duties properly. If all the relevant material is taken into consideration there can be no doubt in the mind of any reasonable person that they and other police officers and policemen in charge of areas where these incidents had happened were negligent in performance of their duties. The Commission recommends that the Government should consider even now if any action can be taken against them. (Page 157-158 of the Report)
The Government has noted with concern the conduct of the Police officers mentioned by the Commission.Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against Shri O.P.Yadav, S.H.O.; Shri Ved Prakash, SubInspector; Shri Ishwar Singh, Sub-Inspector; Shri Shakti Singh, Sub-Inspector and Shri Mahinder Singh, Head Constable on the charge that they did not perform their duties properly. On conclusion of the proceedings, Shri O.P.Yadav and Shri Ved Prakash were exonerated and the cases against Shri Ishwar Singh, Shri Shakti Singh and Shri Mahinder Singh were dropped/closed by the competent disciplinary authority, as the charges against them could not be proved.
Dr. Chander Prakash, Shri Rohtas Singh and Shri Ram Phal have retired from service on 30.11.2001, 31.3.2003 and 31.1 1.93 respectively. As mentioned in response to point No. 1 above, there are some legal difficulties in taking departmental action against retired government servants.
However the Government would further examine this matter in consultation with the Ministry of Law for appropriate action.
6. The Commission thereon recommends to the Government to examine only those cases where the witnesses have accused Shri Sajjan Kumar specifically and yet no charge sheets were filed against him and the cases were terminated as untraced and if there is justification for the same take further action as is permitted by law. Those cases which were closed as untraced and which still deserve to be reexamined are those which would arise from FIR Nos. 250/84, 307/94 and 347/91 of police station Sultanpuri, FIR Nos. 325/193, 329/193, 178/84 of police station Mangolpuri and FIR No. 416/94 of police station Delhi Cantt. (Page 162-163 of the Report)
As recommended by the Commission, Government has examined the seven FIRs mentioned in the Report. Out of the seven cases mentioned by the Commission, two cases (FIR No. 325/1993 and FIR No. 329/1993 P. S. Mangolpuri) do not relate to 1984 riots. The factual position about these cases is indicated below:
(1) FIR No. 250/84 PS Sultanpuri
FIR No. 250/84 PS Sultanpuri was not closed as untraced as mentioned by the Commission. On completion of investigation, charge sheets were filed against 27 persons. Three of the accused persons were convicted and the remaining 24 were acquitted by the competent courts. The name of Shri Sajjan Kumar did not figure in the list of accused. It has further been observed that:
(i) FIR No. 25Q/84 PS Sultanpuri was registered against unknown persons and Shri Sajjan Kumar was not named as an accused in the case.
(ii) The name of Shri Sajjan Kumar was also not mentioned by any of the 118 witnesses whose statements were recorded during investigation of this case.
(iii) None of the 96 prosecution witnesses, who deposed before the court, named Shri Sajjan Kumar as an accused.
(iv) Shri Sajjan Kumar was acquitted by the Court of Smt.Manju Goel, Additional Session Judge, Patiala House Court, New Delhi vide her judgment dated 23.12.2002 in case RC No.1 (S)/90-SIU-II-CBI/SIU/ND registered by the CBI on the basis of the affidavit filed by Smt. Anwar Kaur before Justice Jain- Banerjee Committee.
(v) No fresh material evidence has been produced before Justice Nanavati Commission against Shri Sajjan Kumar in connection with the incidents of riot covered under FIR No. 250/84 PS Sultanpuri. Therefore, it will not be just to reopen this case.
2) FIR No. 307/94 P. S. Sultanpuri
This case was registered on the basis of an affidavit filed on 09.09.1985 by Smt.Anek Kaur, wife of Shri Vakil Singh, r/o F-4/2, Sultanpuri. However, in her statement dated 21.7.1994 she denied the allegation against Shri Sajjan Kumar.The case was sent as untraced for want of evidence and the same was accepted by the Court of Balwan Singh Chumbuk, Metropolitan Magistrate, Tis Hazari vice his judgment dated 15.1.99. Smt. Anek Kaur did not file any affidavit before Justice Nanavati Commission and no fresh evidence has been brought forward in connection with the incidents covered under this case. Under the circumstances, it will not be just to reopen this case.
(3) FIR No. 347/91 PS Sultanpuri
This case was registered on the basis of the affidavit of Shri Joginder Singh s/o Shri Rur Singh, r/o B-2/301, Sultanpuri affidavit dated 23rd July, l9B7 filed before Justice Jain- Banerjee Committee. In his statement recorded on 14.5.92, he totally denied the Allegation against Shri Sajjan Kumar. Other witnesses also did not accuse Shri Sajjan Kumar. In the absence of any evidence, an untraced report was filed which was accepted by the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, Tis Hazari vice judgment dated 2B.2.2004. No fresh affidavit was filed before Justice Nanavati Commission in connection with the incident covered under FIR No.347/91 P.S. Sultanpuri to provide any new or additional evidence. Therefore, there is no justification to reopen this case.
. (4) FIR No. 325/93- P.S. Mangolpuri
This case was registered on the basis of the statement of Shri Hazari Lal s/o Sh. Jethu Ram r/o H.No.862, Mangolpuri, Delhi. It has been found that this case relates to theft, which occurred in 1993, and it is not connected with the incidents of riots of 1984.
(5) FIR No. 329/93 - P.S. Mangolpuri
This case was registered on the written report of the SI Om Prakash, P.S. Mangolpuri. It has been found that this case relates to unauthorized possession of arms during the year 1993 and it is not connected with the incidents of riots of 1984.
(6) FIR 178/84, P. S. Mongolpuri
This case was registered on the written report of Smt. Harvinder Kaur, widow of late Shri Iqbal Singh r/o A-119, L.I.G. Mayapuri, Delhi regarding the murder of her husband, Dr. Iqbal Singh Chadha. In her report she did not name any person as she had not seen the incident. The witnesses, who were questioned during investigation, also did not name any body as accused. No eye-witness came forward to give any specific evidence or clue about the incidents. Therefore, the case was sent as untraced which was accepted by the competent Court.
Shri Sajjan Kumar has not been accused by any of the persons who filed affidavits before Justice Nanavati Commission in connection win this incident except Shri. Surender Singh. The Government would look into the factual position in regard to the affidavit of Shri Surender Singh for appropriate action.
(7) FIR No.416/84 P S Delhi Cantt.
This case was not closed as untraced as mentioned by the Commission.After completion of investigation, 11 persons were charge sheeted.However, all of them were acquitted by the competent courts. The case was re-investigated by the
Special Riot Cell on the basis of the affidavits filed before Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission. But none of the witnesses whose statements were recorded accused Shri Sajjan Kumar. Therefore, the name of Shri Sajjan Kumar was not included in the supplementary challan filed by the Special Riot Cell. Four persons accused in the supplementary challan, namely, Sunil Tiwari, Hukum Chand, Mangat Ram and Balwan Khokhar were acquitted by the court of Shri S.S.Bal, ASJ on 30.4.94.
None of the 18 persons, who filed affidavits before Justice Nanavati Commission, has accused Shri Sajjan Kumar for the incidents of riots in the area of PS Delhi Cantt. Therefore, there is no justification to reopen this case.
7. So far as the Lt.Governor Shri P.G. Gavai is concerned, it has to be stated that the explanation given by him is not satisfactory and does not convince the Commission in recording the finding that there was no lapse at his level. Though he does not appear to have delayed taking of required actions, it does appear to the Commission that he did not give as much importance to the law and order situation in Delhi as the situation demanded. He was the person responsible for maintenance of law and order in Delhi and therefore, he cannot escape the responsibility for its failure. (Page 178 of the Report)
The Government had taken immediate administrative action. Shri Gavai was replaced by Shri M. M. K. Wall as LG of Delhi on 4th November, 1984.
8. Mr. S.C. Tandon was the Commissioner of Police and was directly responsible for the maintenance of law and order in Delhi. It is no explanation to say that he was not properly informed by his subordinates. It was his duty and responsibility to remain aware of what was going on in Delhi during those days and to take prompt and effective steps. He should have known that the policemen on the spot were ineffective and inspite of curfew mobs indulging in violence were moving freely and were committing acts of looting and killing also freely. He ought to have taken strict action against the defaulting officers immediately and ought to have given directions to be more strict with the crowds. There was a colossal failure of maintenance of law and order and as the head of the Police Force, he has to be held responsible for the failure. The course of events do disclose that the attitude of the police force was callous and that he did not remain properly informed about what was happening in the city. (Page 178 of the Report)
The Government has taken serious note of the observations of the Commission and would take necessary action to ensure better leadership qualities among senior police officers. Mr. S.C. Tandon was replaced on 12.11.1984 and he has since retired. As mentioned earlier, there are legal difficulties in taking departmental action against retired government servants. However, the Government would examine this matter further in consultation with the Ministry of Law for appropriate action.
9. The Commission also agrees with the findings recorded by Justice Mishra Commission as regards the delay in calling the army. The Commission also agrees with the recommendations made by Justice Mishra Commission for preventing happening of such events again.The Commission would, however, like to recommend that such riots are kept under check and control and there should be an independent police force which is free from the political influence and which is well equipped to take immediate and effective action.It is also necessary and therefore, the Commission recommends that if riots takes place on a big scale and if the police is not able to register every offense separately at the time when they are reported, the Government should thereafter at the earliest take steps to see that all complaints are properly recorded and that they are investigated by independent Investigating Officers. (Page 183 of the Report)
The Government accepts these views of the Commission.Accordingly, State Governments, Union Territory Administrations and Delhi Police will be advised to take necessary action.
10. The Commission also recommends that the Government of India and the State Governments should see that all the affected persons throughout the country are paid adequate compensation on a uniform basis.It appears that in some states the High Courts have directed payment of higher compensation of Rs. 3,50,000/- for the loss of life to the dependents of persons killed and those states have paid the compensation accordingly. But in some states smaller amounts have been paid. It has also been brought to the notice of the Commission that as a result thereof the dependents have been required to file writ petitions in the High Courts to get such relief and those petitions have remained pending for a long time. The Commission therefore, recommends that the Government of India should take steps to see that all of them are paid compensation uniformly at an early date. The Commission also recommends by way of rehabilitation of badly affected families, that the Government should consider providing employment to one member of that family if that family has lost all its earning male members and it has no other sufficient means of livelihood. (Page 183 - 184 of the Report)
The Government has accepted the recommendation.
In so far as the NCT of Delhi is concerned, the following financial Compensationst assistance have already been given to the widows/families of the riot victims:
(i) Rs. 72,69,27,764/- have been paid as death compensation in total 2327 cases @ Rs. 3.50 lakh per case;
(ii) Rs. 54,62,000/- have been paid as compensation for injury in 2603 cases;
(iii) Rs. 5,83,68,000t/- have been paid as compensation for damaged residential properties;
(iv) Rs. 4,77,42,561/- have been paid as compensation for uninsured premises or assets including industrial properties and machineries in a total of 3415 cases;
(v) Rs. 20,60,000/- have been paid as marriage assistance for the daughters (in 199 cases) and widows (in 14 cases) of the deceased;
(vi) 2200 MCD slum flats, 58 kiosks/shops and 760 house sites were allotted to the families of the riot victims;
(vii) 684 widows and wards were provided employment by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi; and
(viii) Monthly Pension @ Rs.1,000/- has been granted to old aged persons and widows affected by 1984 riots even if they have employed children or earning adult members.
The concerned State Governments would be advised to ensure uniformity in compensation/other assistance to the widows/families of the riot victims. The Central Government would take other necessary steps to implement this recommendation.