A court in Delhi on Tuesday rebuked the police for not coordinating properly with the prosecution in a case related to the communal violence that took place in the city in February 2020, reported Live Law. The court also said that the police officers involved in the case seemed to have a “confused conduct”.

The Delhi Police had filed an application in the sessions court for the case to be transferred to a magistrate court. The police counsel argued that Section 436 of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to “mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house”, was not applicable in the case.

After the police submission, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said that all the other offences in the case were bailable and the accused person “should not have been sent to custody”, The Indian Express reported.

“Is this a joke?” the judge asked the police, according to Live Law. “Is police custody a joke? You yourself don’t know what to do. When is Section 436 IPC invoked? Does this FIR [first information report] contain ingredients of Section 436?”

Later on Tuesday, the police informed the court that it had spoken to the special public prosecutor, and decided to withdraw the application for the transfer of the case.

The judge then told the police that this was not the right way to handle the case, The Times of India reported.

“The concerned police officials themselves are confused as they first moved an application stating that Section 436 of the Indian Penal Code is not made out and asking for transfer of the case to concerned metropolitan magistrate and thereafter after sometime after talking with special public prosecutors want to withdraw their own application finding it meritless,” the court said.

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The additional sessions judge then dismissed the police’s application.

Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26, 2020, in North East Delhi. At least 53 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the violence.

Courts in Delhi have pulled up the police several times for the flaws in their investigation of cases related to the riots.

On September 28, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg had asked Delhi Police commissioner to conduct an inquiry and deduct Rs 5,000 from the salary of an officer who failed to appear before him and sought an adjournment in a case.

Garg had on September 17 pulled up the police for their “lackadaisical approach” in handling cases related to the communal violence.

Two weeks before that, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said that the police had failed to conduct a fair investigation in riots cases and to ensure that the victims get justice.

In at least three cases, courts have pointed to irregularities in the manner in which first information reports were filed.