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Individuals, NGOs giving crimes communal colour a norm now: Govt to HC

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
February 01, 2023 00:11 IST
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The Centre has told the Delhi high court that a "sinister practice" of individuals and NGOs with vested interest giving certain crimes a "political or communal flavour" and spreading a biased narrative that the government backs a particular community to discredit statutory investigations has become the norm.

Image used for representational purpose only. Photograph: Reuters

The government made the submission in an affidavit while endorsing a petition that sought declaration of fact-finding reports by various extra-judicial bodies such as the Delhi Minorities Commission on the 2020 communal riots in northeast Delhi as having no standing in law.


This is needed to maintain the purity of judicial process and fairness in ongoing trials riots' cases, it said.

To discredit statutory investigations, individuals, private organisations and NGOs with vested interests, first create a social media storm and generate a biased narrative accusing the government of being the mastermind of an offence against a particular community or caste, the government said in its affidavit filed through standing counsel Monika Arora.

"Thereafter, the narrative is metamorphosed into a national debate by a section of the media and social media influencers, mostly based in foreign jurisdiction or sponsored by organisation operating from foreign jurisdiction, who also share the same vested interest and mostly operate in unregulated internet platform," it said.

The matter came up as a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad on Tuesday was hearing a petition by lawyer Dharmesh Sharma whose school was burnt down in the riots in February 2020, which claimed 53 lives and left 200 others injured.

The petitioner has contended that since the charge sheet has been filed in the FIRs lodged in connection with the burning down of the school, the fact-finding reports by extra-judicial bodies would interfere with the due process of the trial.

In his petition, filed through advocate Ashish Dixit, has sought that the reports be removed from the public domain and be declared as having "no value in law".

The bench transferred the matter to another bench which is already seized of several petitions pertaining to the same controversy. The court listed the petition before a bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul for February 10.

The government said to substantiate their narrative and to generate public opinion on the basis of their "fake, false or half true facts", these individuals, private organisations and NGOs with vested interest form "private and extra-judicial commissions" headed by retired bureaucrats, constitutional functionaries or self-proclaimed activists having personal or subject associations with them.

"The petitioner in the present petition has raised a vital question of law of public importance pertaining to a growing practice, vividly, witnessed in recent times," it said.

"The said sinister practice which has now become a norm is that in certain category of crimes pursuant to commissioning of an offence, a motivated/malicious/sinister device is created by certain vested interest individuals, private organisations, NGOs etc., whereby, to give the offence political/communal flavour of being backed by the government of the day helping a particular community...," the government said.

Based on "fake" and "half true facts", private and extra-judicial commissions start the process of collecting and recording evidence to give it a facade of statutory inquiry, it claimed.

They come out with a "completely biased" report that in most cases is found to be a report acting as a cover-up to the offence and portraying the real accused as victims and the real victims as accused, it said.

"In most of the cases it is invariably witnessed that the final opinion of such private and extra-judicial commissions are that the crimes which forms subject matter of the inquiry were committed at the behest of the government of the day,” it said, adding that the biased reports are then circulated in the public domain through social media platforms.

The Centre said the prayers made in the plea deserves to be allowed and all the reports published either by the DMC or by any private and extra- judicial commissions or fact-finding bodies ought to be declared as null and void for the purpose of any court proceedings.

"It is respectfully submitted that the same is necessary to maintain (i) purity of judicial process; (ii) fairness in ongoing trials of Delhi riots cases; and (iii) statutory sanctity and credibility of statutory investigations and its adjudication by the trial courts," it said.

The government added that the extra-judicial tribunal ought to be restrained in future from giving any fact-finding reports touching the subject matter of an FIR or proceedings pending before a criminal court of competent jurisdiction.

The Centre also said that these reports have ignored that the Delhi Police acted in a fair and impartial manner and more than 750 FIRs were registered and three Special Investigation Teams were set up to ensure a fair investigation in cases related to the riots.

It alleged that the “tone and tenor of the reports is biased to sway the public opinion in favour of a particular community”.

On the fact-finding committee constituted by the DMC, the Centre said it was set up to send a wrong message on the lawful actions of the Delhi Police.

The fact finding report of the DMC has also pointed fingers at BJP leaders for allegedly "inciting" people through speeches during the assembly elections.

The findings of the DMC were disputed by the BJP which accused the minorities panel of levelling baseless allegations against the saffron party.

The 130-page report in its findings has also alleged "inaction" on the part of the police in cases related to the riots that broke out after violence between Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and protesters spiralled out of control.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2023 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.