A division bench of Gujarat High Court on Wednesday recused itself from hearing appeals in 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case, with the judges saying that “an accused tried to approach a colleague”.
The petitions were moved by former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, former VHP leader Babu Bajrangi, among others sentenced to life imprisonment challenging their conviction by a trial court in the case.
The division bench of justices M R Shah and K S Jhaveri ordered to place the matter where “either of us is not a member”. Justice Shah told the lawyers representing the convicts and the prosecution, “We have some reservations on conducting the case…an accused tried to approach a colleague.”
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Earlier on Monday, Justice G B Shah, a member of the division bench led by Justice Jhaveri, had recused himself from hearing the case. On that day, the matter had been scheduled for fixing a date from when hearing on daily basis would begin. A day later, the HC formed a new division bench led by Justice M R Shah.
On April 9, the hearing of the case was stayed for two months following a Supreme Court’s order. Several victims of Naroda Patiya had moved the apex court against the division bench led by Justice Ravi R Tripathi. The victims and even the SIT had told the SC that they had apprehension that the petition of Maya Kodnani would be heard on priority basis instead of conducting all the petitions together. It was again listed for hearing on July 1 before the division bench led by Justice Jhaveri.