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SC declines relief to Tytler in í84 riots case
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 12
Congress leader Jagdish Tytler on Friday failed to get relief from the Supreme Court in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Tytler had come to the apex court challenging the Delhi High Courtís July 3 order refusing to stay the sessions courtís April 10 directive to reopen the CBI investigation against him.

The case pertains to the killing of three persons near Gurdwara Pulbangash in North Delhi on November 1, 1984 during the riots following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Arguing for Tytler, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi said the trial court had accepted the CBIís report for closing the case against his client for want of evidence, but the revisional court of the sessions judge ordered further investigation without hearing the Congress leader.

ďThe investigation has been going on for 30 years. Should it still go onĒ despite the fact that the CBI had found that his client (Tytler) was not even present near the scene of the crime, Rohatgi contended.

Unconvinced, the Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar said, ďThis type of cases must reach their finality some time. We donít want to interfere.Ē It also pointed out that the HC had only passed an interim order rejecting Tytlerís plea for a stay and would hear the challenge against the order for reinvestigation on September 18.

Sensing the mood of the Bench, Rohatgi sought to withdraw the petition instead of getting it dismissed, which would attract adverse media publicity. Initially, the Bench was reluctant to allow this plea, pointing out that seeking withdrawal after arguing the case at some length was not a healthy practice. Also, media attention was something the petitioner could not avoid as a large number of reporters were watching the proceedings, the Bench said. Nevertheless, it allowed the plea.

Rejecting Tytlerís plea for a stay, Justice SP Garg of the HC issued notice to the CBI and complainant Lakhwinder Kaur seeking their response by September 18 to Tytlerís appeal against the lower court order.

In his appeal, Tytler has contended that the sessions court had erred in directing the CBI to examine specific witnesses ignoring the fact that it was the prerogative of the investigating agency to choose the witnesses it wanted to examine.

ďThe settled position of law is that a direction for investigation can be given only if an offence is prima facie found to have been committed or a personís involvement is prima facie established but direction to investigate whether any person has committed an offence or not cannot be legally given,Ē he contended, pleading for quashing the sessions court order.

In December 2007, a magistrate court had rejected the CBIís closure report against Tytler and ordered reinvestigation. But the CBI filed a closure report again on April 2, 2009, stating that it could not find any evidence against the Congress leader and this was accepted by the magistrate.

However, Additional Sessions Judge Anuradha Shukla Bhardwaj ordered reopening of the case on a plea by some of the victims.

The case

  • The case pertains to the killing of three persons near Gurdwara Pulbangash in North Delhi on November 1, 1984
  • The Congress leader had moved the SC challenging the Delhi HCís order refusing to stay the sessions courtís April 10 directive to reopen the CBI investigation

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