Delhi police should use ‘common sense,’ court while discharging Muslim student in riot case

Holding that the charge cannot be invoked “merely on the statement” of a police witness, a Delhi court has discharged a 22-year-old student Javed from the charge of using an “explosive substance to destroy house” in a case connected to the northeast Delhi pogrom.

While discharging Javed, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said that even though communal riots cases have to be considered with the utmost sensitivity, common sense should not be given a go-by.

“This Court is conscious of the fact that cases of communal riots have to be considered with utmost sensitivity, but that does not mean that the common sense should be given go­-by; mind has to be applied even at this stage with regard to the material available on record,” Judge Yadav said.

Javed was arrested in April 2020 based on complaints filed by four people who claimed that their house, godown and shops were vandalised and looted by a riotous mob on February 25, 2020, according to PTI news agency.

Javed had been chargesheeted under Sections147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 436, 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc.), 454 (lurking house-trespass or house-breaking in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonment) and 120­B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

The prosecutor Amit Prasad stated that Javed was arrested from his house on April 19, 2020, pursuant to secret information and his categorical identification by the police witness.

On the other hand, Javed’s lawyer Advocate Nasir Ali had sought his discharge, arguing that the four complainants in the case had not specifically named or identified the accused in their written complaints, Bar and Bench reported.

The court observed however that there were no eyewitnesses, CCTV footage or photographs of the incident. It also took note of the fact that the complainant did not state a single word regarding mischief by fire or explosive substance by the mob.

“There is no photograph showing arson having been committed in the matter,” the court said.

“I’m afraid that the investigating agency cannot cover up the said flaw by way of recording the supplementary statements of complainants, if the ingredient(s) of section 436 IPC [mischief by fire] was not there in their initial written complaints made to the police,” Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav.

While Court discharged a 22-year-old student of the graver charge, charges with lesser punishments were framed against him.