A court in Delhi on Thursday said that the city police will be held responsible if an investigating officer fails to follow court orders in the February 2020 Delhi violence case, Live Law reported.
The investigating officers cannot delay compliance of an order because they were unaware of the court’s directions, it added.
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.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg made the remarks on Friday while hearing the case of an investigation officers’ delay in implementing court orders.
In his September 25 order, Garg observed that special public prosecutors and investigating officers do not appear for hearings on the dates fixed, and when they do come after “prodding of senior officers”, it is without inspecting the files. After this, the officials seek adjournment of the case in a “very casual manner”, the judge added.
Garg imposed the fine after the police failed to comply with a previous order in which he had directed the investigating officer to supply a copy of an “e-challan” to one of the accused, Komal Mishra. The investigating officer told the court that the document was not given to Mishra as he was not aware of the April 12 order, and sought an adjournment in the case.
He allowed the adjournment request after imposing the fine. The money will be deducted from the officer’s salary and deposited to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
On Thursday, Garg waived off the cost imposed on police, after the copy of e-challan was given to Mishra, according to Live Law. But, the court observed that the commissioner of police had not submitted an investigation report. Instead, a request for extension of time was received by the court.
“Let an explanation be called from Commissioner of Police Delhi under his signatures through Secretary [Home] Union of India as to why appropriate action as per law be not taken against him for non-submission of the report in terms of the previous order,” the court said.
Courts in Delhi have pulled up the police several times for the flaws in their investigation of cases related to the riots.
On October 12, a Delhi court has fined the city police Rs 25,000 and held that its delay in filing an application about a case pertaining to the February 2020 violence caused undue harassment to the accused persons.
In July, a sessions court had imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the police after criticising its “callous and farcical” investigation in a case related to the violence. This was after the police had not registered a first information report on a complaint by one Mohammad Nasir despite a previous court order.