Anti-Sikh riots: SC declines interim bail on health grounds to Sajjan Kumar

Like Kumar, former Congress councilor Balwan Khokhar, who is also serving life term and ex-MLAs Mahender Yadav, undergoing 10 years imprisonment in the same case, could not get any relief.

Published: 14th May 2020 12:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th May 2020 12:53 AM   |  A+A-

Sajjan Kumar 1984 anti sikh Riots

Sajjan Kumar (File Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed pleas for interim bail or parole on health grounds of former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who is serving life imprisonment in an 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, saying that he did not need hospitalization as per medical report at the moment.

Like Kumar, former Congress councilor Balwan Khokhar, who is also serving life term and ex-MLAs Mahender Yadav, undergoing 10 years imprisonment in the same case, could not get any relief from the top court which rejected their similar pleas.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices Indu Malhotra and Hrishikesh Roy, in the proceedings held through video conferencing, perused the medical report of Kumar and dismissed the interim bail plea.

"In the meantime, let a copy of the report dated March 11, submitted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, be supplied to the appellant (Sajjan Kumar)," the bench said, adding that the plea for grant of parole or an interim bail are dismissed.

The regular bail plea of Kumar will now be listed for hearing in August, it said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, and senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for some riots victims, opposed the bail plea of the convicted leader.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the convict, said that his client be granted bail as if something happens to him in jail then his life imprisonment would become death penalty for him.

The apex court had earlier asked CBI to respond to the plea of Khokhar seeking grant of either interim bail or parole for eight weeks in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, who has been appearing for some of the riots victims, said the bench on Wednesday rejected Khokhar's plea and observed that the convict was "more safe" inside the jail.

The apex court also dismissed the parole plea of Yadav saying that it was not disputed that he was sentenced for a period of 10 years' rigorous imprisonment, but has spent only one year and four months in prison so far.

"In these circumstances, and in view of the fact that the applicant does not suffer from any ailment which cannot be treated while in prison, we are of the view that he would be provided all necessary medical attention in prison. It is not necessary to pass any further orders, and the instant application for grant of parole is disposed of," the court said in the order.

It then ordered listing of Yadav's appeal against the conviction for hearing in July.

Sajjan Kumar and Balwan Khokhar are serving life imprisonment in Tihar jail in the case after the Delhi High Court convicted them on December 17, 2018.

Earlier, the top court had said that it would hear the bail plea of other convict and Sajjan Kumar in the case during summer vacation.

Khokhar's life sentence was upheld by the Delhi High Court in 2018, while it had reversed the acquittal of Kumar by the trial court in 2013, in a case related to the killings of five Sikhs in the Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony in southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a gurdwara 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 bodyguards.

The high court had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by the trial court to the other five -- Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

It had also convicted them for criminal conspiracy to burn down residences of Sikh families and a gurdwara in the area during the riots.

The trial court in 2013 had awarded life term to Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal, and a three-year jail term to Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

Following the high court verdict, life term of Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal has been upheld and the sentence of Yadav and Kishan Khokar has been enhanced to 10 years in jail.


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