The judgment of this case is one of the landmark judgments in the history of India. In the year 1984, terrific violence happened which is also known as Anti Sikh Riot Or Sikh Massacre. The riot is considered one of the darkest memory in the history of India. It was estimated that approximately 3,350 Sikhs were killed in New Delhi between November 1 and November 4 and approximately 17,000 Sikhs were killed across the other States in the year 1984. Various shops of the Sikhs were destroyed, the houses were damaged, many Sikhs were burnt alive, Sikh passengers were thrown out of their respective transport systems. The riot took place as a consequence of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Miss Indira Gandhi. She was shot dead by her two bodyguards who were Sikh on 31st of October 1984. The riot created disharmony and fear among the minds of everyone across the whole country. It also created communal distress and the Sikhs were treated very badly and they remained always in a fear of what would happen to them. By the 4th of November 1984, the army and police came to subdue the violence. The case reached Court.
Facts and Timeline of the Events of the case: On 31st of October 1984, the then PM Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her two Sikh bodyguards at residence. On November 1 the main accused Sajjan Kumar unlawfully assembled in Raj Nagar of New Delhi and he also entered into an agreement with namely Balwan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Captain Bagmal, Giridhari Lal, Krishan Khokkar, Late Maha Singh and Santosh Rani and some known and unknown person (who were deceased in the riot) about a criminal conspiracy. He also instigated communal disharmony, provocated people on the grounds of religion, and created disharmony, he also delivered provocating speeches. There was mob violence. In the violence various people were murdered, there was house-trespass in order to commit offense like murder, dacoity took place, various properties were destroyed. The riot took place consecutively for almost 2 to 3 days. In May 2000 Girish Thakorlal Nanavati Commission was set up to probe riots related cases. In December 2002 Session Court acquitted Congress Leader Sajjan Kumar in one of the cases. On 24th of December 2005, CBI registered another case on the recommendation of the GT Nanavati Commission. On the 1st of February 2010, the Trial Court issued summon against Sajjan Kumar, Balwan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Captain Bagmal, Giridhari Lal, Krishan Khokkar, Late Maha Singh, and Santosh Rani. On the 24th of May, Trial Court charged the accused with murder, dacoity, criminal conspiracy, etc. On 30th April 2013 Court acquitted Kumar, Balwan, Lal, Bhagmal for the offense of murder, and Yadav and Krishan for the offense of riot. On the 9th of May, life terms were awarded to Khokkar, Bhagmal, and Lal and a 3-year jail term to Yadav and Kishan. On July 19 CBI files an appeal in High Court against the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar. On 22nd July High Court issues notice to Sajjan Kumar on CBI's plea.
Judgment: On the 17th of December 2018, the High Court finally gave its verdict. Sajjan Kumar and others who were accused were found guilty for doing the offenses of
Sajjan Kumar was acquitted for the offense of criminal conspiracy as he went into an agreement with others to commit an offense. Under Section 120B of IPC, he was acquitted. Section 120B states that whoever is a part of a criminal conspiracy to commit offense like death will have imprisonment for life or rigorous punishment for a term of two years and upwards. He was also acquitted under Section 147 of IPC i.e. the punishment for rioting, Section 147 states that whoever is guilty of rioting shall be punished for the imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or fine or with both and also under Section 148 of IPC i.e. rioting armed with a deadly weapon. Under Section 153A he was found guilty for promoting enmity between different groups of religion, under Section 295 for injuring religious places, under Section 302 for murder, under Section 395 for dacoity, under Section 427 for mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50, under Section 436 for mischief by fire or explosive substance, under Section 449 for hose trespass in order to murder, under Section 505 for statements conducing public mischief.
The Court observed that such riots are "crimes against humanity". The Court also noted that the riots were engineered by political actors with the assistance of law enforcement agencies. This particular case took almost thirty-four years to give its final judgment regarding the main accused Sajjan Kumar. It has been observed that the perpetrators of the horrific mass crimes in this Anti-Sikh riot enjoyed mostly political patronage. Thus it took such a long time to give the final judgment in this case. The Court also stated that there were also several other cases that were similar to this case like Mumbai in 1993, Gujrat in 2002, Muzzafarnagar in 2013, Kandhamal in 2008. The similarity of these cases was the targeting of the minorities and the spreading of communal or religious disharmony among everyone.