Court seeks government’s response on plea against Amod Kanth


New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Friday issued notice to the central government on a plea to withdraw medals awarded to former Delhi Police officer Amod Kanth and his colleague for their role in maintaining law and order during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the city.A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjeev Khanna issued notice to the central government, the Delhi Police commissioner, Kanth and his colleague, and the then station house officer of Paharganj police station, and sought their responses by Sep 16.

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The notice came during the court hearing of a petition filed by Amrik Singh Lovely, who has challenged an earlier single-judge bench order rejecting the plea in April.

Rejecting the petition, Justice S. Muralidhar had said: “The 1984 riots in Delhi have left deep scars on the collective memory of the nation, and especially of the Sikh community. Several commissions of enquiry have been constituted over the years to uncover the truth of the tragic events that transpired in the early days of November 1984, in which thousands of innocent persons were killed.”

“The role of the state machinery has come under critical scrutiny. It is arguable that in the context of a tragedy of such proportions, the state ought to display sensitivity to the feelings of the victim community and be circumspect in hastening to award gallantry medals to the officials of the law enforcement machinery soon after the events. Yet, the scope of judicial review in such matters is limited,” he said.

In his petition, Lovely said the police officials had implicated the Sikh community’s members during the riots which followed the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards Oct 31, 1984.

“Rioters had gathered outside the Paharganj residence of the petitioners on Nov 5, 1984, and had attacked their relatives, but police, instead of arresting the culprits, apprehended them (petitioners) for breach of law and order,” said the petition.

“The single judge failed to appreciate that it is noteworthy that the police and the military killed Narinder Singh on the road while he was in their custody and also meted out such brutal treatment to the appellant including his family members and implicated them in false cases,” said the petition, while challenging the earlier order.

“But still the police officers, instead of being punished were given award,” states the petition, adding that there was no action from Nanavati Commission and no hope for justice till date.