A local court in Delhi on Monday rebuked the police for the way it has conducted the investigation in the case related to the violence that broke out in the national Capital in February 2020, reported The Indian Express. The Karkardooma district court noted a “complete lack of supervision of the investigation by the senior police officers” in the cases.

“I do not find any substance in the present petition filed by the state,” Judge Vinod Yadav said, according to the newspaper. “The investigating agency has evidently been found to be on the wrong side of law. This court has found in several cases of riots in the entire length and breadth of police stations in North-East Delhi that there was complete lack of supervision of the investigation(s) by the senior police officers of the district. All is not over yet. If the senior officers now look into the matter(s) and take remedial measures required in the matter(s), so that justice could be given to the victims.”

The court rejected the Delhi Police’s review plea filed against a metropolitan magistrate’s order on registration of separate first information reports based on the complaints from the respondent, Nishar Ahmed, reported Live Law. Ahmed had approached the magistrate for registration of FIR for his complaints filed on March 18, 2020 and May 23, 2020.

In the first complaint, Ahmed said he had reported to the Gokulpuri station house officer on February 25 about a mob vandalising his home and robbing him. He claimed that the police had taken a very small complaint about the incident and only in connection with the theft.

In Delhi’s Mustafabad area’s Eidgah relief camp on March 18, 2020, Ahmed had provided details about how a mob of nearly 250 people were allegedly mobilised through a public address system. The complainant had given specific details that the “clarion call” was allegedly instigating one community against another. The police, however, reportedly added this complaint with another, in which no accused was mentioned.

On November 19, 2020, the metropolitan magistrate had directed the police to file separate FIRs in the case. But the Delhi Police challenged this direction.

The Delhi court on Monday said that even the offence of criminal conspiracy was not invoked in any of the cases “where either the respondent [Ahmed] is a complainant or witness”, according to The Indian Express. “There is clear diversions of action/investigation by the police in the cases under consideration and case FIR No 60/2020, PS Dayalpur [Head Constable Rattan Lal murder case], where the persons who participated at the protest site in the capacity of organisers have been made accused persons,” the court noted. “There are clear allegations by the respondent against the named police official(s) of PS Gokalpuri, who had refused to register FIR on his [Ahmed] complaint and forced him to give merely complaint of theft [complaint dated 04.03.2020].”

The court said as many as 25 complaints related to the Delhi violence were clubbed in a single FIR, even though they had different date of incidents, separate complaints, witnesses and accused persons. “Several complaints pertaining to a particular area have been clubbed with a single FIR,” it added.

The state had argued in court that it had the right to combine the complaints on the principle of sameness and cited a previous Supreme Court judgement. However, the judge said: “This court failed to understand as to how the complaint of respondent dated 18.03.2020 could have been clubbed with case FIR no 78/2020, when this complaint disclosed commission of congnisable offences on two dates by two different unlawful assemblies.”

Delhi violence

Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 last year in North East Delhi, killing at least 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst in Delhi since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

The Delhi Police claimed that the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was planned by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Amendment Act. They also claimed that the protestors had secessionist motives and were using “the facade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government. The police have arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges.

The police filed a main chargesheet in September and a supplementary one in November.

As many as 755 FIRs were registered and 1,829 people arrested in connection with the violence in northeast Delhi last year, the Centre had informed Parliament in March.