[NorthEast Delhi Riots 2020] On Case not proved 'beyond reasonable doubt' Delhi Court acquits two accused

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ASJ Amitabh Rawat remarked, that the testimony of Shamshad and Pramod does not inspire the court to conclude the case against the accused persons namely Yogendra Singh and Suraj 'beyond reasonable doubt'.

A Delhi Court on Wednesday acquitted two accused persons namely, Yogendra Singh and Suraj, in connection with the northeast Delhi riots 2020.

The court was hearing a case involving a First Information Report (FIR) filed by a complainant Shamshad at the Jyoti Nagar Police Station, in Delhi, on February 29, 2020, alleging that a house in the Ashok Nagar area was looted, ransacked, and burned by thousands of rioters on February 25, 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Amitabh Rawat of the Karkardooma Court, Delhi, observed that the prosecution has not been able to prove its case against both the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt, which is the touchstone of criminal law.

Court ordered, “Hence, both the accused persons namely Yogendra Singh and Suraj, are acquitted of all the offences punishable under Section 147 (rioting), 427 (causing damage to property), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of IPC.”

The accused Yogendra and Suraj were charge-sheeted under Sections 147, 148, 149, 427, and 436 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The prosecution's case was that among the rioters were accused Yogender Singh and Suraj, who had burned down the complainant's house. The prosecution has relied on the testimony of alleged eyewitness constable Pramod and public witness Shamshad, who identified two of the accused, and they were nabbed based on their statements.

Court noted Shamshad’s statement that “on February 25, 2020, hundreds of rioters came to Ashok Nagar Masjid and they started arsoning the shops including mine. When I saw the rioters, he ran away. I could not identify anyone and I ran away to save my life".

To this, the court stated that the witness, Shamshad himself has categorically deposed that rioters had started arsoning houses/shops including his on February 25, 2020, and on seeing them, he ran away and he could not identify any rioters. However, his statement recorded under Section 161 CrPC, stated in his statement he had identified both the accused persons.

Court also stated that the testimony of Shamshad and Pramod does not inspire the court to conclude the case against the accused persons namely Yogendra Singh and Suraj beyond a reasonable doubt.

“On the cumulative reading of the entire testimonies of all the witnesses, the presence of accused persons in the unlawful assembly on the time and place of incident and their participation in the act of rioting, mischief, and burning of the house of complainant Shamshad is not established at all,” the court observed.

Furthermore, Court stated that the testimony of SI Yashvir Singh regarding Section 188 (violation of an order issued by a public servant) IPC is not sufficient as firstly, the presence of the accused persons is not established, and secondly no charges were framed and even the testimony has not come from the concerned authority who allegedly gave the written permission under Section 195 Cr.P.C.

Case Title: State v. Yogendra Singh & Anr.