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Posted at: Jul 24, 2019, 6:44 AM; last updated: Jul 24, 2019, 10:02 AM (IST)

1984 riots: SC grants bail to 23 accused in Trilokpuri case

1984 riots: SC grants bail to 23 accused in Trilokpuri case
The Bench was headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Tribune file

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to 23 accused who have challenged a Delhi High Court verdict sentencing them to five-year jail term after holding them guilty in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case registered in Trilokpuri area of Delhi.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi indicated that their appeals would be heard in due course after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the state had filed a petition seeking review of the top court’s earlier order acquitting 15 other accused in the case for want of evidence.

The Supreme Court had on July 5 asked the NCT Government and Delhi Police to respond to petitions filed by the 23 accused challenging a Delhi High Court verdict convicting and sentencing them to five-year jail term.

Almost 3,000 people were killed, most of them in Delhi, in the riots that broke out following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. The instant case related to riots in Trilokpuri between October 31 and November 3 in 1984.

The accused were convicted of rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew in Triokpuri area of the national capital during the riots.

These appeals were filed after the Supreme Court on April 30 acquitted 15 of the accused convicted in the case and awarded five-year jail terms for offences of rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had allowed five appeals filed by 15 convicts challenging the November 28, 2018 verdict of the Delhi High Court which upheld a trial court verdict convicting the accused. 

The Bench–which also included Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna–had said there was no direct evidence against these accused and they were not identified by witnesses.

Earlier, the apex court had issued notices to the authorities on the appeals of 34 people against the HC order upholding the trial court verdict to convict them. One of the appellants recently died in jail.

They have sought acquittal on various grounds of parity with the co-convicts acquitted by the top court on April 30.

The Delhi High Court had upheld the August 27, 1996, decision of the trial court convicting them of rioting and arson in November last year.

Police had recovered 95 dead bodies from Trilokpuri—one of the worst affected areas of Delhi in the riots during which more than 100 houses of Sikhs were also burnt in the area. But charges of murder could not be brought against any of the 80 accused.

The high court had upheld the conviction of 70 out of the 89 people who were awarded five-year jail terms by a trial court for rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew during the riots. Of the remaining 19 accused, 16 died during pendency of their appeals against the trial court’s verdict. The appeals of the three others were dismissed after they absconded. 


The Carnage

3,000 persons Killed, most of them in Delhi, in the riots that broke out following the assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi  
Oct 31-Nov 3, 1984  Riots took place in Trilokpuri, one of the worst-affected areas of Delhi
95 bodies  Recovered from Trilokpuri 
100 houses  Of Sikhs burnt in the area

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