Delhi HC seeks response in plea seeking quashing of DMC’s report on Delhi riots

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the Centre said that these reports need to be examined

Delhi violence

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Central government and Delhi Police, seeking response on a petition filed by Delhi Riots victim for quashing reports prepared by Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC), and other private organisations on the Delhi riots.

The contention has been raised against fact finding report of the DMC as well as other reports of civil society organizations such as Human Rights Watch report titled as “Shoot the Traitors – Discrimination against Muslims under India’s New Citizenship Policy”, Citizens and Lawyers Initiative titled as “Delhi Riots of February 2020- Causes, Fallout and Aftermath”; Amnesty International India; Constitutional Conduct Group Report titled “Citizens Committee on the Delhi Riots of February 2020: Context, Events and Aftermath”.

The plea contends that these reports are hampering investigation by ‘self-constituted’ organisations. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre said that the matter would need examination and as such the court kept the matter for further hearing on March 26.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing the case and asked who had constituted these bodies. To this, SG Mehta responded that these were self-constituted. It is pertinent to note here that as far as DMC is concerned, it is a statutory body established by a law passed by the Delhi government and its mandate remains to safeguard interests of minority communities within Delhi.

As per LiveLaw, SG Mehta told the court that several other petitioners, who have filed writ petitions in the High Court “making wild allegations” about riots, have contributed to the reports, and if that is the case, “they (the reports) are vitiated.”

The petition has sought declaration of any such reports by any private organisations or any private tribunal established without any authority of law, to be non-est, void and prayed that they ought not be relied upon by any judicial forum adjudicating cases of Delhi riots, as they subvert the due process of law, and impede the right to a fair trial, reported LiveLaw.

The plea prays that several such private reports on the Delhi riots that favour the minority communities and prejudicing rights of the majority community should also be quashed. The plea states that the reports have been made by individuals acting as extra-constitutional private tribunals and are giving themselves credence by mentioning their former constitutional and executive posts. The plea further states that the content of the reports is such that could deceive judicial forums and the public that could prejudice them against subsequent investigations and legal proceedings.

DMC’s fact finding report released in July 2020 stated that the communal violence started “almost immediately after” the volatile hate speech by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Kapil Mishra on February 23, 2020 at Maujpur. Mishra had said, “We will not listen to the police if roads are not cleared after three days…” The Deputy Commissioner of Police North East district, Shri Ved Prakash Surya, was standing right next to Kapil Mishra when he said those words.

However, the Delhi Police did not stop him, leave alone apprehend or arrest Kapil Mishra and those who cheered his hate speech. This DMC report states that this indicates that the Delhi Police “failed to take the first and most immediate preventive step needed to avoid violence from arising and protect life and property.”



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