The Supreme Court Tuesday acquitted 15 persons who were awarded five-year jail terms by the Delhi High Court for offences of rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna allowed five appeals filed by 15 convicts challenging the November 28, 2018, verdict of the high court.
Earlier, the high court had upheld the conviction of 70 out of the 89 people who were awarded five-year jail terms by a trial court for rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew during the riots.
Of the remaining 19 people, 16 died during pendency of their appeals against the trial court’s August 27, 1996, decision.
The appeals of the three others were dismissed after they absconded, the high court noted in its judgment.
The high court had dismissed the appeals, which were pending for the last 22 years, and had asked the convicts to surrender forthwith to serve their remaining prison terms for rioting, looting and burning houses in various residential blocks in Trilok Puri between October 31 and November 3 in 1984.
The riots broke out after the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards. Around 3,000 people died during the anti-Sikh riots.