Jyotsna Yagnik, former special trial judge for 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, who was heading a law school — Unitedworld School of Law — near Uvarsad village in Gandhinagar district, has resigned from the institute. Yagnik was heading the institute as director and might continue in academics either in another school in Gujarat or even outside the state. She has 30 years of experience in teaching law and is conciliator and trainer at the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution, New Delhi.
Yagnik had convicted former BJP minister Maya Kodnani and former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, along with 30 others in the case. Both Kodnani and Bajrangi were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The website of the Unitedworld School of Law, however, was not updated till Tuesday evening and described her as “director”. The note on Yagnik on the website read: “She also served as POTA judge, designated court for speedy trial of riot cases investigated by SIT and as special judge (serial bomb blast cases), Gujarat.”
The director of the Unitedworld Group, which runs various educational institutes, Ritesh Hada, confirmed that she had resigned “around a month back for personal reasons” and that the dean of the institute, Minal Upadhyay, was now holding her charge. Hada expressed ignorance about the “personal reasons” due to which Yagnik had resigned from the post and the institute.
While Yagnik, 63, refused to comment on the issue, sources who wished to remain anonymous, said that she had resigned under “controversial circumstances”.
It is to be noted that last year, Yagnik had written to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), which was further probing some of the most gruesome 2002 riots cases, about 22 threat letters and blank calls that she had been getting owing to her verdict in the Naroda Patiya case. Apprehending threat to herself and her family’s security, Yagnik had sought to restore her security cover which was scaled down from Z to ‘Y’ category by the Gujarat Government, which was done in due course.
Yagnik had retired a few months after pronouncing her verdict in Naroda Patiya case in August 2012. She was the Principal Judge of Ahmedabad City Civil and Sessions Court then. Yagnik has been conferred a doctorate for her research on discrimination against women and is also a visiting lecturer at Gujarat State Judicial Academy. Previously, she also served as principal at Ahmedabad-based I M Nanavati Law College.