NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Friday came down heavily on the city police for its "lackadaisical approach" and said that no steps for the proper prosecution of 2020 riots cases have been taken by the Police Commissioner and other top officials.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg made the remarks after the prosecutor failed to appear before the court despite repeated calls and the investigating officer (IO) came to the court late without reading the police file and was unable to answer the court's queries.
The judge said that the record reveals that the Special Public Prosecutor has not been appearing in the case for many dates and even on the last date of hearing, he appeared only after the matter was adjourned.
The judge further said, "This court is pained to note that the SHO Gokalpuri has not only failed to depute the substitute IO but also to ensure that the IO while appearing at 3.25 pm, should at least have gone to the case file. He has also failed to ensure the presence of SPP."
The court said "Such lackadaisical approach on the part of the prosecution as well as the investigating agency in riots cases has been repeatedly brought to the notice of not only the DCP North East and Joint CP Eastern Range but has also been brought to the notice of the Commissioner of Police, Delhi."
However, no steps for proper prosecution of the cases seem to have been taken by either of them and if taken, have not yet been brought to the notice of this Court, the judge said.
The judge said that the failure on the part of police officers to take appropriate measures for prosecution of the riot cases is causing "avoidable delay in the trial."
He directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to personally look into the issues and ensure proper prosecution of the riots cases, failing which he will be constrained to pass adverse order, including imposition of adjournment costs on the state with a direction to deduct the same from the salary of the officers responsible for imposition of the cost.
"Commissioner of Police, Delhi is further directed to ensure the presence of DCP NE before this Court, if he wishes to avail the opportunity of personal hearing on the next date iF failing which the Court shall be constrained to pass an appropriate order without any further opportunity," the judge added.
He directed the order copy of this case to be sent to DCP North East, Joint Commissioner of Police Eastern Range, Delhi Police Commissioner and Delhi Lieutenant Governor.
On September 6, the judge had come down heavily on the city police for its "lackadaisical attitude" and requested the Police Commissioner to take appropriate action and ensure proper and expeditious investigation in these cases.
Prior to that, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had pulled up the police, saying that their failure to conduct a proper investigation will torment the "sentinels of democracy" when history will look back at the worst communal riots in the capital city since partition.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi in February 2020, after violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters spiraled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and over 700 injured.