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Delhi riots: Ex-judges' 'independent' panel begins work, seeks sensitive details

By Our Representative

A citizens’ committee of prominent ex-public servants has announced, through a public notice, it is ready to receive in confidence from individuals any information and material pertaining to February 2020 Delhi riots in order to investigate its “context, events and the aftermath”. The committee has been set up by the Constitutional Conduct Group, which is made up of former officials who have worked with the Central and state governments.
Those who are part of the committee are: Justice Madan Lokur, former judge of the Supreme Court (chairperson); Justice AP Shah, former chief justice of Madras and Delhi High Courts and former chairman, Law Commission; Justice RS Sodhi, former judge of Delhi High Court; Justice Anjana Prakash, former judge of Patna High Court; GK Pillai, IAS (retd), former home secretary, Government of India; and Meeran Chadha Borwankar, IPS (retd), former director-general, Bureau of Police Research and Development, Government of India.
The terms of reference of the committee say that it would “inquire into the events that transpired before and during the riots, including the response of the state machinery in dealing with the violence, restoring law and order, and related matters” and “analyse and assess the response of the police in investigating the riots.”
They state, the committee would “examine the role of the mainstream and social media in spreading information, both genuine and fake, before, during and after the riots, and its impact on events”, even as assessing “the civic administration’s efforts at providing relief and extending reparations to the victims of riots.”
The committee, continues the public notice, “committed to independence, impartiality and transparency in its functioning”, assuring “confidentiality of communications” of those who represent before it would be “protected.”
It adds, it it will “collect and scrutinize primary material, including first person account of those who have direct knowledge of the events and issues, FIRs, charge-sheets and other documents prepared by government agencies, audio-visual and documentary material that have a bearing on matters under examination.” It adds, it will “also review secondary material including reports and accounts already in the public domain.”
The notice further says, the committee will “proactively collect and review information and materials pertaining to Delhi riots and reach out to persons who may have information or materials pertaining to the events under examination.” It adds, “Based on a perusal of this information, the committee may invite persons for further interactions, keeping their identity confidential.”
It asks individuals to write or upload confidential submissions here,  or alternatively send submission by post to: Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), Common Cause House, 2 nd Floor, Nelson Mandela Marg, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi – 110070. Last date for submissions is November 30, 2020, it adds.

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