A curative petition moved the Supreme Court today by the organization called “Roots in Kashmir”. It is an organization that comprises of Kashmiri Pandits. The present petition has been filed as against the Supreme Court’s order of 2017, through which a similar petition by the organization seeking probe was dismissed. The reason given by the Supreme Court for dismissing the request was ‘long delay’. The present petition is intended to seek probe into the killings of Kashmiri Pandits during the height of militancy in the valley during the 1990s.
On July 24, 2017, a bench comprising the then Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud had dismissed the petition saying "No evidence will be available after 27 years. What happened is heart wrenching but we can't pass orders now”. Subsequently, the review petition against the verdict was also dismissed on October 24, 2017.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, President, Supreme Court Bar Association, Former Additional Solicitor General of India has come out strongly in the favour of the present curative petition filed by the Roots of Kashmir. It has been mentioned in the present petition that a denial to initiate probe merely on the basis of lapse of time, amounts to a "grave error apparent on the record".
Contentions Raised by the petitioner in the present Curative Petition:
- To dismiss the plea for probe solely because there was a huge delay corroborates to bad law, as the delay had nothing to do with the victim families who were consistently fighting their battle to justice.
- There were some families who could not resort to pursuing the case due to genuine fear prevailing at that time.
- The petitioner pointed out that in the anti-Sikh riots case, the Courts have taken cognizance even after three decades.
"Because this Hon'ble Court has completely failed to appreciate that more than 700 Kashmiri Pandits were murdered during 1989 to 1998 and FIRs were lodged in more than 200 cases, but not even a single FIR has reached to the stage of filing of Charge sheet or conviction", the plea reads.
The curative petition also cited Delhi High Court's judgment in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case (Sajjan Kumar Vs CBI reported in 2018), where it was said, "It is important to assure those countless victims waiting patiently that despite the challenges, truth will prevail and justice will be done......"
The petition had sought probe and prosecution of various persons, including leader Yasin Malik, for her massive contribution towards the mass killings that happened back then.
The original plea of the Roots in Kashmir Organization had the following contentions:
- Investigation and prosecution of terrorists like Yasin Malik and Farooq Ahmed Daar @ Bitta Karate, Javed Nalka and others, for hundreds of FIR's of murders of Kashmiri Pandits during 1989- 90, 1997 and 1998, lying un adhered too even after 26 years
- Transfer of investigation of all the FIR's/cases of murder and other allied crimes against Kashmiri Pandits in year 1989-90, 1997 and 1998, to some other independent investigating agency like CBI or NIA or any other agency as appointed by this Court.
- Transfer of all the FIR's/cases pertaining to murders of Kashmiri Pandits, from State of J&K to some other State (preferably State of NCT of Delhi), so that the witnesses, who were reluctant to approach police or Courts in view of their safety concerns, can freely and fearlessly come and depose before Investigating agencies and Courts
- Completion of trial and prosecution of Yasin Malik for gruesome murder of 4 officers of Indian Air Force on the morning of 25th January 1990, which is currently pending before CBI Court.
- Appointment of some independent Committee or Commission to investigate into the mass- murders and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits during 1989-90 and subsequent years.
- Order investigation for the reasons of non-prosecution of FIR's of murders of Kashmiri Pandits and Court- monitored-investigation so that the hundreds of FIR's can reach their logical conclusion without any further delay.