The Delhi High Court quashed four of five FIRs lodged over an alleged incident of looting and arson of houses in a single compound during the northeast Delhi riots last year, after holding that there cannot be multiple FIRs and several investigations into the same offence.
Five First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered against Atir and other accused by the Delhi Police in Police Station Jaffrabad out of which four FIRs namely FIR No. 107/2020, FIR No.112/2020, FIR No. 113/2020, and FIR No.132/2020 were quashed by the Delhi High Court on September 1. The police are now allowed to only proceed with FIR No. 106/2020 and put the materials on record if any against the accused.
The court observed that all five FIRs were identical in their content and more or less a facsimile of one another and pertained to the same occurrence. The single-judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad said, “There can be no second FIR and no fresh investigation regarding the same cognizable offence or same occurrence giving rise to one or more cognizable offences.”
Malik Mohtasim Khan, General Secretary, APCR said, “It is overwhelming to see that our efforts are bearing fruits in the form of these judgements which are strengthening the principles non-discrimination and justice. Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) has been engaged in pro bono litigation since its inception in the year 2006. We have secured remarkable repute among the masses through our tremendous work in the number of cases across a range of jurisdictions. We seek that no individual should be deprived of justice.”
He further stated, “Atir is one of those young men who are being unnecessarily harassed and incarcerated for about one-and-a-half years now merely because of the ‘shoddy’, ‘callous’ and ‘indolent’ investigation by the Delhi Police in the cases of Delhi riots but the aforesaid judgement will help forgo longer incarceration of the accused due to multiple FIRs for the same offence and will save precious judicial time. To hear that the conduct of the Delhi Police, in this case, is contrary to the law of the land and principles laid down by the Supreme Court of India is very disheartening.”
APCR is providing pro bono legal aid to Atir and many others languishing in jails for a long time through a team of qualified lawyers and advocates. Advocate Tara Narula, representing Atir, argued that all the FIRs are in respect of the same dwelling unit and have been filed by the members of the same family and even the same fire-brigade truck had come to extinguish the inferno.
APCR unequivocally condemns the failure of the Delhi Police in properly investigating the Delhi riots and leading the probe to a dead end while depriving the affected population of North East Delhi of justice. We will continue the fight of deprived and disadvantaged people for their rights and justice with much more vigour and resilience, an APCR statement said.