The Supreme Court today sought the response of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a plea filed by former Congress Councillor Balwan Khokhar, currently serving life imprisonment in the1984 anti-Sikh riots case, seeking Furlough.

At the outset, the Bench of Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice Sanjay Karol inquired, "In this, you asked for some Interim Bail, right?..Furlough because of marriage."

To this, the Counsel submitted, "It is for Furlough, not for marriage because of social ties. The purpose of furlough is different. My application is for Furlough before the jail authorities."

He submitted that Khokhar has been given furlough regularly, but now the jail authorities are opposing it since the matter is pending before the High Court.

Justice Karol said, "What is the ocassion, the purpose, we have seen your social ties."

The Bench directed the CBI to file a reply to the Furlough application.

The Counsel requested that, in the meantime, the jail authorities may consider the application till the issue is decided.

On the Counsel's request, the Court suggested that they may refer to the jail authorities after the CBI files a reply in the matter. "Let them come with an response, then maybe we can refer to the authority, can't say today," the Court said.

The Bench ordered. "List after two weeks in the meantime, counsel for the State, CBI may file a counter to the I.A".

Accordingly, the matter will be further heard after two weeks.

Earlier in May 2020, the Apex Court had denied interim bail or parole on health grounds to former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. Sajjan Kumar and Balwan Khokhar are lodged in Tihar jail after the Delhi High Court convicted them on December 17, 2018.

Khokhar's life sentence was upheld by the Delhi High Court in 2018, while it had overturned the acquittal of Kumar by the trial court in 2013 in the case related to the killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar Part-I in Palam Colony in southwest Delhi on November 1–2, 1984, and the burning down of a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.

The anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.

The High Court had also upheld the conviction and varying sentences awarded by the trial court to retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal, and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.It had also convicted them of criminal conspiracy to burn down residences of Sikh families and a gurdwara in the area during the riots. The Trial Court had in 2013 awarded life imprisonment to Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal, and Lal, and a three-year jail term to Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

Following the High Court verdict, the life term of Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal, and Lal had been upheld and the sentence of Yadav and Kishan Khokar has been enhanced to 10 years in jail.

Cause Title: Balwan Khokhar v. Central Bureau of Investigation [Crl.A. No. 1665-1666/2019]