Justice Mathur Committee was appointed by the government on December 23, 2014 to examine the possibility of re-investigation of anti-Sikh riot cases through a SIT. On the possibility of constitution of a Special Investigation Team or SIT for reinvestigation of the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases, the Mathur Committee was established. The Committee, headed by former retired Supreme Court Judge Justice G.P. Mathur, submitted its report.
Of the earlier demand of the reinvestigation into all cases related to the 1984 riots, which was broken out after the assassination of the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Justice Nanavati Commission had recommended reopening of only four of 241 cases closed by police but the BJP wanted the reinvestigation of all the other 237 cases; thus the Mathur Committee was established. Supreme Court lawyer H.S. Phoolka, who has been fighting the anti-Sikh riot cases, had in an open letter to then, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, demanded that an SIT be set up to probe the 1984 riot cases. The Mathur Committee, in order to examine, whether the constitution of SIT should be done on 1984 riot cases; was constituted. The committee was also constituted to oversee the implementation of the payment of enhanced compensation of Rs. 5 lakh per person killed during the riots, as approved by the Union Cabinet on December 10, 2014.
Diving into the history of Sikh Riots of 1984
The Sikh Riots were erupted just after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. During the Sikh Riots, approx. 3,325 people were killed in the riots. Of them, Delhi accounted for 2,733. Rest were killed in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states.
On 10th December 10, 2014, the government had approved a proposal to give an additional compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The compensation to the families of the riot victims will be in addition to what they have already received from the government and other agencies.
The fresh compensation will cost the exchequer Rs 166 crore.
Recommendations by Mathur Committee
The Mathur Committee submitted its reports and under this report, the Mathur committee, recommended the re-looking of more than 200 cases. The SIT formation can be announced after the Delhi elections, which is to be held in February, just after some days.
In the report of 45 pages, the Mathur Committee, thus favored the reinvestigation of many cases which are of important in nature and where crucial evidence was overlooked. The committee, in fact, had three months to give its report, but it submitted its report within 45 days. The Committee also pointed out that nothing much can be done for the cases which has been disposed by various courts. However, with the rest cases, fresh inquiry needs to be done, in those cases. The cases where evidence was available but still Police chose to shut down the case and never filed the charge sheet, needs to be reopened and fresh probe should be done.
On the basis of the Mathur Committee, the Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week recommended the fresh probe of the anti-Sikh riot cases through a Special Investigation Team. After 7th February i.e. after Delhi Elections, the order is likely to take effect.
Thus, the Mathur Committee in a way told the government should not waste any time and should constitute an SIT so that justice is delivered because it has been delayed for over 30 years. It is to be noted that the kin of 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims had over and over again, alleged that Delhi police had ignored key evidences and buckled under political influence and thus many cases were closed in haste.