'...Cannot ignore victims' statements' in Delhi riots cases

...Cannot ignore victims statements  in Delhi riots cases

New Delhi: Even as a local court here rapped the Delhi Police for a "highly callous, inefficient and unproductive" investigation, it framed charges against a man accused in a Delhi riots case as filed by the prosecution, noting that it cannot ignore the victims's statements in the case.

In an order passed on August 23, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, while framing charges of rioting and vandalism against one Rohit, stated that: " is worth noting that investigation in the matter appears to be highly callous, inefficient and unproductive, however, as noted earlier this Court at this stage, cannot ignore the statements of victims dehors the delay in recording of FIR in the matter".

The court was dealing with a case with respect to rioting on February 24 when a mob of about 400-500 people, armed with dandas and iron rods, blocked the main Gokalpuri Road and thereafter set on fire some shops and vehicles in the area of Ganga Vihar and several blocks of Gokalpuri. Thereafter, several complaints were lodged pertaining to alleged vandalism and looting of houses and they were subsequently clubbed in the present FIR.

While framing charges against the accused, ASJ Yadav said that at this stage the police had ocular evidence in the form of supplementary statements of one complainant as well as statements of independent public witnesses under Section 161 CrPC wherein they have given categorical account of the incident in question and role played by accused therein.

The court also observed that the presence of the accused at the Scene of Crime (SOC) has also been confirmed by the beat officers who were deployed on duty at that time.

"Ocular evidence is considered the best evidence, unless there are strong reasons to doubt it," the court order read.

"Their statements cannot be brushed aside/discarded at this stage, merely because there has been some delay in recording of their statements or the complainant(s) have not specifically named them in their initial written complaints," the court stated while going ahead to frame charges under various IPC sections of rioting, vandalism, theft, among others.

Incidentally, in a recent order, ASJ Yadav had pulled up Delhi Police for carrying out what it called a "poor standard of investigation" in several cases pertaining to Delhi riots where "half-baked chargesheets" are filed in court. In one such case, ASJ Yadav refused to frame charges as filed by the police, noting it would frame charges as appropriate at the next hearing.

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