Police officers stand on a vandalised road following clashes in Bhajanpura in Delhi on February 24. | Sajjad Hussain/AFP

A court in Delhi on Monday expressed displeasure at the police’s “lackadaisical attitude” in investigating cases related to the communal violence that took place in the city in February last year, Live Law reported.

Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26, 2020, in the North East Delhi, claiming 53 lives and injuring hundreds.

On Monday, the court was hearing the case of a man named Dinesh Yadav, who had been arrested for rioting, according to PTI. The case involved the destruction of a house and theft, according to Live Law.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg said that Yadav had been in jail for almost a year.

The judge added: “[The] court is unable to proceed with the case on merits along with other riots cases due to lackadaisical attitude of the investigating agency including the supervising officers upto the rank of the DCP [deputy commissioner of police] and above.”

Garg gave the police the final opportunity to file a supplementary chargesheet in the case within three weeks. He also ordered them to ensure that all the cases related to the violence were investigated quickly.

In a different order, the judge rebuked the police for failing in their supervisory duties, The Indian Express reported. The order was about another case related to the destruction of property.

Four accused in this case are in judicial custody.

The police had filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case in October 2020, according to The Indian Express.

But in March this year, officials said they had to file another chargesheet with a report from the Forensic Science Laboratory and evidence gathered from the CCTV footage. The police sought an adjournment of the hearings because of this.

On Monday, the magistrate noted that police officers, in a reply to the court, had been “conspicuously silent” about their intention to file the supplementary chargesheet.

Garg added that deputy commissioner of police of North East Delhi and the station house officer at Gokulpuri seemed to be “absolutely evasive as if they are not aware of the status of investigation/further proceedings in the present case”.

The magistrate said that the officers in question were trying to avoid taking responsibility by not carrying out the investigation in spite of repeated orders from the court.

The Delhi Police have been pulled up by courts several times in the past for the flaws in their investigation of the cases related to the riots.

On Thursday, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had said that the police had failed to conduct a fair investigation in riot cases and to ensure that the victims get justice.

The judge had added: “I am not able to restrain myself from observing that when history will look back at the worst communal riots since partition in Delhi, it is the failure of investigating agency to conduct proper investigation by using latest scientific methods, will surely torment the sentinels of democracy.”

This story first appeared on scroll.in