New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today agreed to hear in detail the appeals filed by the victims of 1987 Hashimpura massacre and the Uttar Pradesh government against acquittal of 16 policemen in the case by a trial court, saying it requires serious consideration and cannot be brushed aside.
"The issue requires serious consideration and it cannot be just brushed aside. We will hear the parties in detail," a bench comprising justices Sanjiv Khanna and R K Gauba said.
After perusing the records, the bench said occurrence of the incident is not in dispute and even the trial court had said this in its judgement while acquitting the policemen.
"There are three issues, first that the occurrence is not disputed, second that the .303 bullets were found which are primarily from police rifles and the third point is the truck which the FSL said it was washed. These are some of the points which require serious consideration," the bench said to the counsel of victims of massacre.
Meanwhile, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also filed an intervener application seeking further inquiry into the incident and framing of guidelines for cases of custodial crimes.
"Owing to the malafide nature of investigation, the police as well as the CB-CID have deliberately suppressed and concealed certain material evidences, in order to screen the accused Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel and to shield them from punishment.
"There is reason to believe that, facts and documents within the knowledge of the PAC were suppressed or not brought on record before the trial court," NHRC said in its plea.
The plea further said that given the "scale and gravity of custodial crimes", their is urgent need for issuance of guidelines for redressal and prevention of such offences.
The court issued notice to all 16 policemen on the NHRC's plea and sought their response before the next date of hearing on October 20.
It also asked the victims' counsel as how can Delhi Legal Service Authority (DLSA) be made to pay the compensation to the affected families as per the trial court order and what quantity of compensation could be granted and by whom.
Earlier, on May 29, the court had sought response from the 16 policemen on the appeal filed by UP government against the trial court verdict.
In its appeal, the State government had said that there are "lapses" in the trial court's findings.
On March 21, a trial court here had given the benefit of doubt and acquitted 16 ex-PAC personnel accused of killing 42 people in Meerut, saying lack of evidence failed to establish their identification in the case.
The 16 personnel were held not guilty of the charges of murder, attempt to murder, tampering with evidence and conspiracy in the massacre case.
Those acquitted in the case were Suresh Chand Sharma, Niranjan Lal, Kamal Singh, Budhi Singh, Basant Ballab, Kunwar Pal Singh, Budha Singh, Rambir Singh, Leela Dhar, Hambir Singh, Mokam Singh, Shami Ullaha, Sarwan Kumar, Jaipal Singh, Mahesh Prasad and Ram Dhayan.
According to the prosecution, PAC personnel had come to village Hashimpura in Meerut on May 22, 1987, and picked up about 50 Muslims as a congregation of 500 had gathered outside a mosque there.
The victims were shot by the accused personnel and their bodies thrown into a canal, it had said, adding 42 persons were declared to have perished in the massacre.
The charge sheet was filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Ghaziabad, in 1996.
19 people were named as accused and charges for offences of murder, attempt to murder, tampering with evidence and conspiracy were framed against 17 of them by the court here in 2006 after the case was transferred to Delhi on a Supreme Court direction in September 2002.
The 16 accused acquitted in the case are still alive.
Three others died during the trial.