Panel of Prominent Ex Judges, Senior IAS-IPS Officers to Independently Probe Delhi Riots

The committee has been set up in light of the serious questions raised about the Delhi Police's actions and investigation, a group of former civil servants said.
Oct 11, 2020 | The Wire Staff

New Delhi: The Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), a collective of former civil servants who worked with the Central government as well as different state governments, has constituted a committee of six former public functionaries of high standing to create a “contemporary record of acts of omission and commission” around the Delhi riots of February 2020.

Three former SC-HC judges, three civil servants on panel

The committee, called ‘Citizens Committee on the Delhi Riots of February 2020: Context, Events and Aftermath’, will comprise former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur, former Chief Justice of the Madras and Delhi high courts and former chairman, Law Commission Justice A.P. Shah, former judge of the Delhi high court Justice R.S. Sodhi, former judge of the Patna high court Justice Anjana Prakash, former Union home secretary G.K. Pillai, and former director-general of the Bureau of Police Research and Development Meeran Chadha Borwankar.

Stating that this is a non-political group that is working towards fostering a civic culture bound by the ethos of the Constitution, the CCG said the horrific nature of the riots in North-East Delhi in February 2020, the scale of violence, the loss of lives and the resulting communal divide between communities highlighted the need for an expert body to conduct a thorough examination of what transpired before, during and after the riots.

Also read: Delhi Govt Flags Seven Videos of ‘Police Complicity’ in February Riots

`Delhi police investigation evoked critical commentary’

Noting that “the investigation carried out into the riots by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times”, it said this has become even more necessary now.

It said, therefore a “Committee with credible reputations in the higher judiciary, the civil service and the police would be best suited to contribute to an objective and fair understanding of the riots and their aftermath.”

The Committee will be allowed to formulate its own procedure and will submit a final report within 12 weeks of starting its work.

Role of state, police, media to be probed

The CCG said the panel of prominent former public functionaries will inquire into the events that transpired before and during the riots, including the response of the state machinery in dealing with the violence, restoring law and order, and related matters.

Also read: ‘Do Mullo Ko Maara Bhai Ne’ Vs ‘Maintain Peace’: A Tale of Delhi Riots and Two WhatsApp Groups

It will also analyse and assess the response of the police in investigating the riots and examine the role of the mainstream and social media in spreading information, both genuine and fake, before, during and after the riots, and its impact on events.

The Committee will also assess the civic administration’s efforts at providing relief and extending reparations to the victims of the riots.

The CCG said while expecting the Committee to remain committed to independence, impartiality and transparency in its functioning, and to ensuring that it conducts itself with integrity, it would also expect that all persons who engage with the committee would be accorded dignity and respect, and that confidentiality of communications would be protected.