Misra Commission Report
B) FUNCTIONING OF THE COMMISSION
On June 1, 1985, Shri R L. Gupta, a member of the Delhi Higher Judicial Service, reported to duty as Secretary to the Commission. On July 6, 1985, the building at 5, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road was placed at the disposal of the Commission for housing the Commission’s establishment. Provision for furniture and furnishing the building in order to make the rooms suitable took some more time.
On July 9, 1985, the Notification by the Commission inviting all persons acquainted with the subject-matter of inquiry to furnish to the Commission information in the form of affidavits relating to the allegation in regard to the incidents of organised violence which took place in Delhi following the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi and the measures that may be adopted to prevent recurrence of such incidents was duly published in 25 newspapers with wide circulation of which 6 were English, 7 Hindi, 5 Urdu and 7 Punjabi. A month’s time was allowed for filing of such affidavits.
One of the first groups which came before the Commission was styled as Citizen Justice’ Committee. It maintained that several well-placed public spirited persons, including Mr. Justice S.M. Sikri, a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Mr. V.M. Tarkunde, a former Judge of the Bombay High Court and now a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, Mr. Soli J. Sorabjee, a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh (Retd.) and Lt. Gen. J.S. Aurora (Retd.) were, among others, members of the Committee and the object of the Committee was to protect the interests of the riot victims belonging to the Sikh community. By Order dated July 29, 1985, the Commission accorded recognition to the Committee as the representative body of the riot victims.
Since the conduct of the Delhi Police was under cloud and as in the inquiry that was to follow investigation into allegations of dereliction of duty on their part was likely to be inquired into, the Commission directed that an independent Investigation Agency be constituted excluding Delhi Police and accordingly made an order for the setting up of such an Agency.
Grievance was made that the victims were afraid of filing affidavits disclosing the true state of affairs as such disclosure was bound to be against people in the party in power, officers of Government and mainly the police as also influential persons of the respective localities. Initially the Commission was of the view that unless concrete incidents were placed before it, it would be difficult to assume genuine basis for such apprehension. By August 9, 1985, which as the last date for receipt of affidavits in terms of the Commission’s Notification, a solitary affidavit had been received. The Commission , therefore, extended the time for receipt of affidavits by one further month and issued fresh Notification in several newspapers publicising the fact of such extension. The information was also duly given out through the All India Radio and Doordarshan. Within the extended time, 2905 affidavits were received by he Commission in regard to the incidents of Delhi.
With the inclusion of Kanpur, Bokaro and Chas, public notice relating the Kanpur was directed to be issued on September 9, 1985, requiring affidavits to be filed by October 29, 1985. The said Notification was issued in 5 newspapers having circulation in Kanpur area of which 4 were English, 5 Hindi and 6 Urdu. Kanpur was subjected to unusual floods in October 1985 and on that ground the Commission allowed extension till November 14, 1985. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Kanpur was authorised to receive affidavits that may be presented before him. Parties were given the liberty to personally file or send their affidavits by post to the office of the Commission at Delhi. Within the extended period a total number of 675 affidavits were received from Kanpur.
With the amended Notification with reference to Bokaro and Chas, public notice was ordered to be issued on October 11, 1985, and was actually published in 11 newspapers of which 4 were English and 7 Hindi, requiring affidavits to be filed within 30 days therefrom. Time was extended up to December 5, 1985. Option was given to the persons intending to file affidavits before the Commission either to send them by post or have the same filed in person at Delhi or to file them before the Judicial Magistrate Chas. In all, 172 affidavits relating to incidents in Bokaro and Chas were filed before the Commission. Appropriate consent had been taken from the High Courts of Patna and Allahabad for availing the services of the respective Judicial Officers .
Though the CJC wanted the inquiry for all the four places to be conducted at Delhi , the Commission found that there were locally based parties who had come forward to participate in the inquiry in response to its Notifications and to have the inquiry conducted at Delhi would not be convenient to them . Several affidavits had been filed by inhabitants of these areas who also wanted the inquiry to be conducted locally. The Commission , therefore , directed that the inquiry would be separately done at the respective places. On account of proximity and on the representation of parties inquiry for Chas was directed to be also done at Bokaro.
The State Governments of Bihar and Uttar Pardesh were accordingly requested to provide suitable accommodation at the two places for the sittings of the Commission and without much delay appropriate accommodation was placed at the disposal of the Commission at both the places.