Reported SIT appointed by Central govt is merely a committee
Thursday, 12 February 2015
AAP leader and senior advocate HS Phoolka has issued the following statement on the issue of Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 1984 anti Sikh riots :
· SIT appointed by the central government is actually a committee and does not have the powers of investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)
It has been reported in the media that the BJP’s central government has finally appointed a SIT comprising a retired judge and two officers to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Similar committees comprising retired judges and police officers have been appointed earlier too.
Three committees - Jain-Banerjee Committee, Potti-Rosha Committee and Jain-Aggarwal Committee, all three were set-up comprising a retired judge and police officers. Delhi High Court in the case Brahma Nand Gupta Vs Union of India held that these committees can only have recommendatory powers i.e. can give recommendations to the government. The High Court had further held that these committees could neither investigate criminal cases nor monitor the investigation of criminal cases.
The appointment of Jain-Banerjee Committee was quashed by the High Court because in its terms of references it was given the power to monitor the investigations. For this very reason, the High Court first stayed the functioning of the committee and finally quashed its setting-up. The High Court held that the investigations can be done and / or monitored only by a police officer.
Precisely due to the above mentioned reasons, the AAP government of Delhi had in January last year recommended setting-up of a SIT comprising of only police officers, from outside Delhi Police. Kejriwal government had recommended that the SIT should reopen and further investigate 237 cases which were closed by the police and were never sent for trial to the court.
As it appear from the media reports, what has been appointed by the BJP’s central government is actually a committee and to call it an SIT would be factually incorrect. A committee or SIT having only recommendatory powers will not be of much use.