Akali Dal MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Advocate H S Phulka, former AAP MLA Jarnail Singh and others react to the Delhi High Court verdict. Image: PTI

Sajjan Kumar’s Conviction: Even Symbolic Justice Matters, Says HS Phoolka 

Lawyer HS Phoolka’s fight for justice for 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims landed him a major conviction today. The Delhi High Court sentenced four people, including Congress leader and former Parliamentarian Sajjan Kumar, to life imprisonment. Yet, he doesn’t think that can be called justice.

“Justice has not been done at all. It is symbolic justice. But even symbolic justice is a lot,” he told BloombergQuint in an interview. The verdict, he said, proves that no one is above the law despite attempts by the powerful to derail the case.

It’s a great victory for the nation and the judicial system, he said. The reason the court took so long to pronounce its verdict was because the political system did not allow the judiciary to function, Phoolka, one of the petitioners in the case, said. It was a game played by previous governments to shield the guilty, said the lawyer who has been fighting the case pro bono for more than three decades.

This a clear message that law can catch up with you. A clear warning to the people who have committed these crimes for political gains.
HS Phoolka, Lawyer And Petitioner

Phoolka was forced to give up his role as leader of the opposition in the Punjab assembly as the bar sighted a conflict of interest in the case. He resigned from the assembly in 2018 as he felt the Amarinder Singh government wasn’t doing enough to provide justice for the victims’ families, he said.

His battle for justice will not end here. The lawyer says he will push for a special investigative team to probe the role of Kamal Nath, the new Madhya Pradesh and senior Congress leader, in the riots.

There is strong evidence against Kamal Nath but no action has been taken.
HS Phoolka, Lawyer And Petitioner

Watch the entire interview here: