India would have been a different country had those responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots been punished promptly, the Delhi High Court said while issuing a directive to the police to act against those involved in the recent attacks on properties of lawyers.
A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar noted that the lack of punishment in “such “ cases indicates the “beginning of the rot” in the system.
The bench additionally expressed concern regarding the safety of the common man if senior lawyers were being attacked. It also rapped the police’s response time after being informed that the police was in the process of lodging FIRs in regards to the arson attacks which had taken place on January 4, 8 and 22.
The court has directed the police to expedite the forensic analysis of all the evidence collected from the site of the attacks.
Arson Attacks On Lawyers’ Properties And Cars
The lawyers targeted in the arson attacks are those who have been representing a woman lawyer who has alleged that she was assaulted by police officers and dragged out of her house in connection with a stalking case lodged against her over a property dispute.
On January 9 and 22, the properties and cars of senior lawyers Vikas Pahwa and Kirti Uppal, also the president of the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA), were subjected to arson attacks using inflammable substances.
Uppal’s car a Hyundai Tucson which had been parked outside his house in Nizamuddin West area in Delhi was torched by unknown miscreants.
Earlier on January 4, two cars — a Maruti Swift and a Honda Amaze – that had been parked near the east Delhi residence of advocate Ravi Sharma were set on fire by unidentified persons.
After hearing a plea for the investigation involving the incidents to be moved to a court-monitored SIT probe, the bench has posted it later this week wherein the agency is expected submit an order appointing a special investigator for probing the case.
Even before the plea seeking a SIT probe was mentioned, the bench had on its own raised the issue of the attacks as a PIL and asked for an action taken report from the police.
Another Bench raps Delhi Police For Poor Progress
Similarly another bench comprising Justices Siddharth Mridul and Deepa Sharma also mentioned that the “inevitability of punishment” was a deterrent for crime.
The bench was hearing the petition filed by the woman advocate regarding the alleged assault on her last December by some police officers.
The court proceedings were disrupted in the first half of the day after some lawyers beat up an unknown individual suspecting him to be the person torching the vehicles of the senior advocates.
Justice Mridul condemned the violence, noting that the court cannot be turned “into an ‘akhada’ (wrestling ground).”
The bench also sharply censured the Delhi Police for the lack of progress of the investigation into the arson attacks, and expressed alarm that the attacks were “so easy” to do “in the city of Delhi.”
On behalf of the police, standing counsel Rahul Mehra and advocate Tushar Sannu, assured both the benches that all necessary action would be taken immediately. They have also assured protection to all those persons connected with the case facing threat to their safety.