The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice in a plea filed by the mother of one of the Muslim boys who were seen in the "Jana Gana Mana" video which went viral during the February 2020 North-East Delhi riots.
The Court has further directed the Crime Branch to file a status report regarding the progress of the investigation into the death of the Petitioner's son.
The matter has now been listed on 1st February, 2021.
In February 2020, a video showing five Muslim men being kicked, beaten and prodded with lathis by police-men went viral. The five men were encircled and forced by the police officers to sing the national anthem while they were lying on the ground, helpless and in a grievously wounded condition.
One of the five men, the 23-year-old Faizan, was taken in custody on 24th February and released in a precarious health condition on 25th February. He succumbed to his injuries on 26th February at LNJP Hospital. The plea states that in the intervening night before his death, he had described to his mother, the torture that had been inflicted on him.
It is contended in the plea that the injured Faizan had been kept in illegal detention at the Jyoti Nagar Police Station, and denied access to medical care. Further, it was only when his condition took a turn for the worse and it appeared that he may not survive, was he released.
"The mere release from the police station prior to his death would not absolve the policemen of having committed murder in custody, and the Petitioner is seeking justice for the same", states the plea.
In light of the above, filed on behalf of Faizan's mother, Kismatun, the plea seeks for the constitution of a court-monitored Special Investigation Team to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the custodial death of Faizan. It also seeks for periodic filing of Status Reports before the Court, and for a detailed affidavit supported by relevant material regarding the functioning of CCTV cameras at the concerned police station.
Despite a murder case being registered and the investigation being transferred to the Crime Branch, the petition claims that with the passage of nine months, "it is now clear the investigation conducted by the Crime Branch is a sham, designed at shielding the guilty men in uniform, rather than investigating the crime".
"The investigation conducted by the Respondent No. 2 does not inspire confidence, and there is a grave and real apprehension that the tardy, shoddy and sham investigation will shield the real perpetrators of the heinous crime, as they are policemen".
The plea further prays for an Action Taken Report to filed regarding the steps taken by Delhi Police in view of the partisan and biased actions displayed by the policemen in the viral videos, and to place an record all Service and Conduct Rules, Regulations, Office Orders, Memorandums etc. which prohibit and penalize discrimination, hate speech and targeted action against religious minorities by policemen on duty.
The Petitioner was represented by Advocate Vrinda Grover, assisted by Advocate Soutik Banerjee.