[Delhi Riots 2020] “Object of mob was to damage properties of Hindus”: Court frames charges against two accused

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Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Pulastya Pramachala of the Karkardooma Court observed that the common object of the mob was to cause damage to the properties of Hindus.

A Delhi Court has framed charges against two accused persons for burning a school and other properties including vehicles belonging to Hindus. During the commission of the offence, the computer lab and library of the school were set on fire. The incident had taken place in the Dayalpur area of northeast Delhi in February 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Pulastya Pramachala of the Karkardooma Court observed, “In pursuance to their common object, they attacked and forcibly entered into Arun Modern Public Senior Secondary School with common object to cause maximum damage….this school was chosen because it belonged to a Hindu and the common object of the aforesaid mob was to cause damage to the properties of Hindu”.

The court noted the mob rioted and set fire to the school’s computer lab and library, as well as the vehicles. They also caused damage to other school properties worth more than Rs.50. “It is also apparent that this mob violated the order passed u/s 144 Cr.PC, in respect of which a complaint u/s 195 Cr.PC has been made by DCP, NE”, the court added.

A PCR call was received on February 25, 2020, concerning a fire at Arun Modern Public Senior Secondary School on main Brijpuri Road in Delhi. When the police arrived at the school, they discovered that it had been vandalized and set on fire by the rioters. Other vehicles were set on fire as well.

Subsequently, a complaint was made by Principal Jyoti Rani on February 26, 2020. She alleged that on Feb 25, around 150-200 people forcibly entered the school and vandalized various articles of the school as well as vehicles parked inside the school campus. Rani also alleged that the rioters set the vehicles and other articles like generators, almirahs, numerous documents, computer systems, items of the chemistry lab, furniture, etc on fire. The mob also burnt the computer lab completely. She further alleged that they also burned the school library and that the school suffered a loss worth Rs. 1 to 1.24 crores.

Thereafter, a case was registered against three persons, namely, Shamim Ahmad, Mohd. Kafil@ Kapil and Faizan at Dayalpur police station. Out of the three persons, Faizan has been declared a proclaimed offender (PO) by the court.

After the completion of the investigation, the first chargesheet was filed in June 2020, before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM). The court took cognizance of the offences under Sections 147, 148, 149, 427, 435, 436, and 120B of the Indian Penal Code.

During the hearing, the counsel for the accused persons challenged the prosecution case and argued that the police officers and other witnesses were planted and that there were discrepancies between the complaint filed in this case and the FIR filed by the police.

On the contrary, Special Public Prosecutor appearing for the Delhi Police submitted that there was no variation in the FIR and the complaint. He also stated that the issue of planting any witnesses could not be considered at this stage as there was sufficient evidence to frame charges for alleged offences.

To this, the court said, “I am in agreement with ld. SPP that the question of planting of witnesses cannot be looked into at this stage. I also do not find any difference in the complaint and FIR registered in this case. The plea was also taken that FIR was registered belatedly”.

“However, IO has given reason for the same in the chargesheet, and credibility of such reason shall be appreciated at the final stage”, the court added.

“At present, on the basis of statements of witnesses like Ct. Piyush, Vishamber Nath, Neeraj Sharma, and others read with photographs and other documents, I find that sufficient material is there to show that all the 3 accused persons and other unknown members of the mob comprising of more than 5 persons formed an unlawful assembly with a common object”, the court observed.

While discharging the accused persons from the offence of criminal conspiracy, the court said that since the allegations of conspiracy were based on presumption, rather than any concrete evidence, it was not sufficient to presume that the accused persons acted out of pre-hatched conspiracy.

Conclusively, the court ordered, “I find that accused persons namely Shamim Ahmed and Mohd. Kafil @ Kapil are liable to be tried for offence u/s 147/148/427/435/436 IPC read with Section 149 IPC and Section 188 IPC”.

Case Title: State v. Shamim Ahmad & Ors.