In the case of Capt. Bhagmal vs State, The Delhi High Court agreed with Captain Bhagmal’s request for extension of parole. The Court gave Captain Bhagmal, accused of 1984 riots, a further period of three months on parole.
On 31 October 1984, after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, riots erupted on a great scale. They killed thousands of people in India. Rioters targeted and killed Sikhs in the rest of the world too. In India, Delhi was in the centre of the conflict. Between the 1st and 4th of November that year, 2,733 Sikhs were brutally murdered within four days. Rioters destroyed Sikh households. Rioters burnt down a gurudwara in the Raj Nagar district of south-west Delhi, killing five Sikhs in the same area.
Many of those who committed these heinous murders enjoyed government patronage. An indifferent law enforcement department helped them. The criminals escaped prosecution and punishment for over two decades. It took up to ten committees and commissions to investigate the conduct of some of them. Central Investigation Bureau (CBI) took charge of the case in 2005. Twenty-One years after the event.
The Court was of the view that the mass killings of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere in November 1984 were in fact “crimes against humanity”. A Two-Judge Bench of S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel heard the appeals. The appeals were a collection of cases filed by the CBI, the survivors of the riots, and the convicts who opposed the acquittal of Kumar by a trial court in 2013.
In December 2018, the High Court convicted Sajjan Kumar, leader of Congress and former Member of Parliament (MP) for his role in the anti-Sikh uprisings of 1984. The Court also affirmed the conviction of Captain Bhagmal for offences committed under section 302 and 149 of the IPC. Bhagmal was later released on parole on 19 September 2019. The Court further extended the release period in March 2020 for two months.
Arguments Before the Court
Seeking the further extension of parole in Capt. Bhagmal vs State, the counsel for Bhagmal submitted that Bhagmal is currently 91 years old and his medical condition is very poor. He is most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. The Petitioner also suffers from renal complications and blood pressure. It is thus not advisable for him to go back to Tihar Jail.
He also contended that his health would deteriorate further if he surrendered to the authorities in jail. The counsel told the Court that Bhagmal never misuses the rights given to him. The State opposed the extension of parole.
Bearing in mind the petitioner’s age is more than 90, the petitioner’s parole stands extended for a period of three months under the same terms and conditions. The applicant must surrender to the relevant Prison Superintendent after the expiry of three months.
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