New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed petitions to strip police medal awarded to former IPS officer Amod Kanth for his role in maintaining law and order during 1984 anti-Sikh riots, saying the decision was taken and ratified by various authorities including the PMO.
"The original file containing the citation and notes leading to the decision of the President has been produced before and perused by the court. They reflect the application of mind by several authorities in a hierarchical manner up tothe Prime Minister and the President of India," Justice S Muralidhar said.
Dismissing two separate petitions, the court said the scope of a judicial review in such matters was limited.
"Yet, the scope of judicial review in such matters is limited. It is in the first place confined to examining the transgressions if any in the decision-making process. On this score, there is no scope for interference as far as the
present case is concerned."
"As regards the merits of the decision itself, it cannot be held that the material placed before the decision-making authority was not relevant to the grant of Police Medals to respondents (Kanth and the then SHO of
Paharganj police station S S Manan)," the court said.
Amrik Singh Lovely and Trilok Singh had sought a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs to withdraw the Police Medal for gallantry conferred on Kanth and Manan by a presidential notification on June 7, 1985.
They alleged the facts such as that the 16 accused belonged to one family of a victim community, grant of bail to them and CFSL report were not considered while deciding to award the police officers.
"The court is satisfied the failure to consider the bail order, the CFSL reports and the fact that the accused belonged to same family did not, by itself, vitiate the decision to award Police Medals," the court said.
Justice Muralidhar, however, said the state should be sensitive and should not rush to award the policemen.
"The role of the state machinery has come under critical scrutiny. It is arguable that in the context of a tragedy of such proportions, the state ought to display sensitivity to the feelings of victim community and be circumspect in
hastening to award gallantry medals to the officials of the law enforcement machinery soon after the events," the court said.
16 persons, including four minor and five women, of the family of Amrik and Trilok Singh were arrested on November 5, 1984, for allegedly opening fire on a mob which led to the killing of two men including an army jawan.