The Union government has objected to inquiry reports of non-governmental organisations and other “vested interests” on the 2020 Delhi riots, and told the High Court that they impede the course of justice, Bar and Bench reported.
The Centre filed an affidavit on September 19 in support of a public interest litigation filed by a person named Dharmesh Sharma, who sought the quashing of several reports on the violence. On Tuesday, a bench of the Delhi High Court headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma transferred the case to a bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul, The Indian Express reported.
Sharma, in his petition, objected to reports by the Delhi Minorities Commission, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Citizens and Lawyers Initiative and Constitutional Conduct Group.
The Union government told the court in the affidavit that “private/extra-judicial tribunals” should be restrained from presenting any fact-finding reports on the violence.
“Based on the fake, false or half true facts presented before it these ‘private and extrajudicial commissions’ enters into a, so called, process of collecting and recording evidences to give it a façade of statutory inquiry or investigation and after conducting such exercise comes out with a completely biased report...,” the Union home ministry said.
The Centre claimed that most such reports portray “real accused as victims of the crimes and real victims the accused of crimes”.
The home ministry objected in particular to reports by international NGOs Amnesty International and Greenpeace, and contended that the “interference” of such organisations has far-reaching ramifications.
“...Cease and desist orders, for such proscribed foreign organisations, from interfering in the domestic affairs/ criminal justice system are liable to be passed,” it said, according to Live Law.
The Centre also alleged that many independent inquiry reports presented a selective narrative “to sway public opinion in favour of a particular community”.
Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it in February 2020 in North East Delhi, killing at least 53 persons and injuring hundreds. Most of those killed in the violence were Muslims.
In August 2020, Amnesty International said in a report that it found that the police sometimes did not intervene despite being present at the scene of the violence.
Police officers intervened only to arrest anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors, and refused to register complaints of the victims, the NGO said.
Greenpeace, in a public statement in March 2020, had expressed solidarity with the victims of the violence and called for resolving disputes through dialogue and non-violence.
“The Indian Constitution grants everyone equal rights, and promotes diversity,” it had said. “The Constitution provides freedom of expression in peaceful protests as well freedom to practise religion. We urge for these values to be upheld and for the rule of law to be respected especially at the present times.”