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The Delhi High Court issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the oral objection of Yashpal Singh, a convict in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, challenging the legality of reopening of investigation in the closed cases of the riots.

The court was hearing the death reference as well as the appeal against the capital punishment awarded to Yashpal Singh in the killings of two men during the riots that ensued post the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

Justices Siddharth Mridul and IS Mehta sought response from the Centre through the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, stating, “”In view of the challenge mounted on behalf of Yashpal Singh to the legality and validity of the order dated February 12, 2015, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, it is considered proper and necessary to issue notice.”

Central Government Standing Counsel Akshay Makhija appeared for the government and sought time to obtain instructions in the instant matter.

The court also directed the registry to provide a copy of the death sentence reference paper book to the counsel for the Centre on such submissions.

The police had lodged a case on a complaint by the victim’s brother Santokh Singh. But in 1994, the police closed the case citing lack of evidence. The case was reopened by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Of the 650 cases registered in connection with the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, 267 were closed as untraced by the Delhi Police. Of these, five were later taken up by the CBI. The SIT also scrutinized records of 18 cancelled cases.

–India Legal Bureau

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