New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday, will hear the appeal filed by former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar challenging the Delhi High Court’s December 17 verdict convicting and sentencing him to life imprisonment in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. His appeal against the high court’s verdict is scheduled to be heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
In its judgement, the high court had noted that over 2,700 Sikhs were killed in the national capital during the 1984 riots which were indeed a “carnage of unbelievable proportions”. It had said the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” law enforcement agency. The high court had set aside the trial court’s 2010 verdict which had acquitted Kumar in the case.
The Delhi HC had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by a trial court to five others — former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
Kumar had surrendered before a trial court on December 31, 2018, to serve the sentence in pursuance of the high court’s December 17 judgement awarding him life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life”. After his conviction in the case, Kumar had resigned from the Congress party.
The Delhi High Court had dismissed Kumar’s plea seeking an extension of time (till January 30) to surrender after being sentenced to life imprisonment. A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said it saw no grounds to grant him the relief and rejected his application.
The anti-Sikh riots case relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984 and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II. The anti-sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.