Ignore SIT findings, proceed uninfluenced: SC to trial court

Srinagar: The Supreme Court has directed a court here to proceed with trial uninfluenced by findings of Special Investigation Team (SIT) and observations of J&K High Court in a case involving killing of a class 7 student, Wamiq Farooq, in 2010.
A Division Bench of Justices Jagdish Singh Khehar and S A Bobde passed the direction while disposing of a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the government in 2012, challenging rejection of a revision petition filed by it in J&K high court against Sessions Court’s order directing registration of second FIR into the killing.
Wamiq was killed allegedly after a teargas shell fired by the police hit him on the head near Gani Memorial Stadium at Rajouri Kadal here on 31 January 2010.
On 19 March 2012, the Supreme Court had issued notice limited only to the direction given by the Sessions Judge Srinagar, giving liberty to the SIT to register a fresh FIR.
Subsequently, on 28 October 2014, the highest court had sought ‘outcome of deliberations’ of the SIT and the government subsequently placed the enquiry report prepared by the Superintendent of Police headquarters Srinagar, the in-charge of SIT.
In the report, SIT concluded that on the day of incident, police party entered the area surrounding Gani Memorial Stadium to control the situation following stone pelting there.
“The gypsy in which police men were travelling was stopped near Masjid and the police party disembarked to chase away the pelters and fired tear smoke shells. At the same time death of a boy named Wamiq Farooq was reported which may have been due to fall from the wall of the surrounding of Gani Stadium or the death could have caused by tear smoke shell itself,” the SIT concluded in its 26-page finding.
The apex court observed that perusal of the conclusions recorded by the 4-member SIT reveals that the police have been found to be innocent in reference to the death of Wamiq Farooq.
“In the above view of the matter, the need to record a second First Information Report, by the impugned order passed by the High Court SLP(Crl.)No.2245/2012 on 09.08.2011 (affirming the determination rendered by the Principal Sessions Judge, Srinagar vide his order dated 02.05.2011) stands frustrated,” the apex court said and accordingly set aside the direction issued by the sessions judge.
“We have been informed that a trial is in progress on the basis of a private complaint on the same set of allegations, which were subject matter of consideration in the First Information Report under reference,” the apex court.
While disposing of the SLP, the court said: “Needless to mention, that the observations recorded by the courts below, as also the opinion expressed in the report submitted by the SIT, would not influence the determination of the ongoing complaint case.”
After Wamiq’s death, the police refused to take cognizance, prompting his father Farooq Ahmad to file a complaint through his counsel advocate Aijaz Ahmad Dar before the CJM on February 15, 2010, seeking directions to police to register an FIR against the accused. The complaint was referred by the court to the IGP who reported back on February 20, 2010 that the matter was already under investigation in FIR 12/2010 under Sections 307, 148, 149, 336, 353 RPC at police station Nowhatta.
According to the CJM, the facts unravelled in the FIR revealed that some “miscreants had tried to set ablaze a police vehicle” amid heavy stone pelting and the police had to resort to smoke shelling. Later on, it was found that one boy Wamiq Farooq received injuries and succumbed to his wounds at SKIMS, Soura here.
Subsequently, the CJM on May 11, 2010 ordered a detailed investigation by Judicial Magistrate (Passenger Tax & Electricity Srinagar). The Magistrate submitted his inquiry report on November 26, 2010.
The CJM, on February 5, 2011 directed the IGP Kashmir to constitute a SIT to be headed by an officer not below the rank of SP.
The police, however, challenged the order by filing a revision petition in Principal and Sessions Court and the High Court. However, both Sessions as well as High Court upheld the orders by the CJM, and SIT was constituted which submitted its report on April 24 2013.
CJM later issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Assistant Sub-Inspector Abdul Khaliq and a Special Police Officer (SPO), Mohammad Akram after prima-facie finding the duo guilt of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder.”
The ASI challenged the proceedings before High Court which called for records from Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar, the trial court. However, in November last year, the high court returned the record till the Supreme Court’s decision in the SLP.