Delhi HC Judge recuses self from 2020 riots bail hearings

The recusal marks the third instance of a Division Bench stepping down from these cases. Initially, the cases were being handled by Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar.
Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court (File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court Judge Amit Sharma recused himself on Thursday from hearing bail pleas related to the 2020 Delhi riots.

The bail pleas include those filed by JNU student Sharjeel Imam, RJD president of Delhi youth wing Meeran Haider, and others accused in communal clashes.

The Division Bench, led by Justice Prathiba M Singh, subsequently ordered that the matters be reassigned to a different bench, excluding Justice Sharma, subject to the approval of the Acting Chief Justice.

“Let these matters be listed before the bench of which one of us (Justice Amit Sharma) is not a member, subject to orders of Hon’ble the Acting Chief Justice,” the Court’s order stated.

The recusal marks the third instance of a Division Bench stepping down from these cases. Initially, the cases were being handled by Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar.

However, following Justice Mridul’s transfer to the Manipur High Court, the cases were reassigned to Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain.

The most recent roster change saw the cases being handed over to Justices Prathiba M Singh and Amit Sharma. With Justice Sharma’s recusal, the matters will now be listed before a fourth bench. Delhi Police has registered more than 750 FIRs concerning the riots in the city’s northeast area in February 2020.

Around 24 FIRs were registered in New Usmanpur police station, 10 in Shastri Nagar, 118 in Gokulpuri, 76 in Dayalpur, 153 FIRs in Khajuri Khas, 91 in Karawal Nagar, 5 in Sonia Vihar, 137 in Bhajanpura, 26 in Welcome and 79 FIRs in Jafrabad. Three Special Investigation Teams (SITs) were formed under the Crime Branch to investigate the cases.

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