53 people had lost their lives in the Northeast Delhi riots of 2020. (File Photo)

A Delhi court on Monday dismissed a review petition filed by the police challenging a Metropolitan Magistrate’s order over registering an FIR in the Northeast Delhi riots case, saying that in “several cases” it has noticed a “complete lack of supervision of the investigation(s) by the senior police officers of the district”.

The judge observed: “I do not find any substance in the present petition filed by the state. 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.”

As per the court’s records, Nisar Ahmad had filed a complaint with SHO Gokulpuri on 25 February, 2020, regarding a mob from a particular community vadalising and looting his house. Ahmad claimed that the police took down a very small complaint regarding the theft.

On March 18, at the Eidgah relief camp in Mustafabad, Ahamd gave a detailed complaint stating how a mob of 200-250 people was mobilised using a public address system, where “a clarion call was being given to the persons of a particular community to go and vandalize and put on fire the houses of persons of another community”.

Ahmad’s complaint was clubbed with another complaint in which no accused was named.

Following arguments by Ahmad’s lawyer, MR Shamshad, a Metropolitan Magistrate on November 19, 2020, ordered the police to register a separate FIR in this case which was challenged by the police.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav dismissed the revision petition of the police observing, “I do not find even semblance of investigation with regard to the criminal conspiracy hatched by the persons named in complaint dated 18.03.2020, by either the local police who investigated the matters under consideration as well as by Special Cell, which investigated the case of larger conspiracy.”

Noting that the “investigating agency has evidently been found to be on the wrong side of law”, the court said, “Even the offence of criminal conspiracy has not been invoked in any of the cases where either the respondent is complainant or witness. There is clear diversions of action/investigation by the police in the cases under consideration and case FIR No.60/2020, PS Dayalpur (HC Rattan Lal murder case), where the persons who participated at the protest site in the capacity of organisers have been made accused persons. There are clear allegations by the respondent against the named police official(s) of PS Gokalpuri, who had refused to register FIR on his complaint and forced him to give merely complaint of theft (complaint dated 04.03.2020).”

In many cases, 25 complaints have been clubbed into a single FIR having different dates of incidents, different complainants, different witnesses and different set of accused persons.

Relying on a slew of judgments, the court stated: “The issue of clubbing and joining the investigation of different complaints into one FIR is basically to protect the accused, even if the offence is same.”

This story first appeared on indianexpress.com