Former Gujarat HC judge questions independence of judiciary, talks of ‘judicial terrorism’

Speaking at the launch of an NGO on Sunday, Justice Sethna said that the lower court in Vadodara had acquitted all the accused after the complainant, Zahira Sheikh, turned hostile.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: October 10, 2016 1:48 pm
 gujarat high court, gujarat hc, former gujarat hc judge, Behram Jahanbux Sethna, judiciary terrorism, terrorism, best bakery case, judiciary judgement, biased judgement, indian express news, india news Gujarat High Court.

Former Gujarat High Court judge, Justice (retd) Behram Jahanbux Sethna, Sunday said terrorism was not just perpetrated by terrorists, but also by the judiciary in the country. Justice Sethna had hit the headlines in January 2004, after a two-judge bench headed by him had upheld the judgment of the Vadodara fast-track court, acquitting all the 21 accused in the Best Bakery case in which 14 people were burnt alive during the post-Godhra 2002 riots. But the Supreme Court rejected his judgment, ordering a fresh trial by a special court in Mumbai, and the accused were finally punished. The former judge was speaking at the launch of the NGO, Justice for Victims of Terrorism (JVT), a brainchild of former IPS officer D G Vanzara, an accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Ishrat Jahan encounter cases, and other retired IPS officers, including former Gujarat DGP S S Khandwawala, K P Raghuvanshi, among others. The NGO aims to “provide financial and legal aid to victims of terrorism as well as to family members of the accused named for terror activities”.

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Referring to the reversal of his judgment by the Supreme Court in the Best Bakery case, he said, “Terrorism sirf terrorists hi nahi karte, judicial terrorism bhi hai. (Terrorism is not perpetrated by terrorists alone, there is judicial terrorism also).” Sethna said that the lower court in Vadodara had acquitted all the accused after the complainant, Zahira Sheikh, had turned hostile.

He said that an NGO from Maharashtra had got involved in the case when the lower court’s judgment was challenged in the High Court. “Maine lower court ka judgment confirm kiya aur observation me likha ki is NGO ki jaanch karai jaye ki kahan se paisa aaya, kya interest hai (I confirmed the judgment of the lower court and observed in the order to probe the NGO as to where it got funds from and what was its interest.)” Sethna added that the Supreme Court, while reversing his order, allegedly “removed the observation on the NGO” while sending the case to Maharashtra for fresh trial.

Sethna said that in the Best Bakery case, the “principal of fraternity” was not applied by SC, which stated that this was “an exceptional case”.
He said: “Why was this case exceptional? Was there any pressure from the government or were there other reasons?” In his 30-minute speech, Sethna said it was unfortunate that so many police officers, who were eliminating terrorists, became “the victims of terrorism”.

Questioning the independence of the judiciary, the former judge said that the courts refused bails to these people (IPS officers from the state accused in the encounter cases) from “2004 to 2014” on the ground that there was prima facie evidence against them, but beginning 2014, these officers and the politicians were given clean chits and bail.

“Ishrat Jahan was declared a terrorist by the international court. Our political leaders made her the daughter of the nation. The time has come to teach such political leaders a lesson,” said Sethna, who also headed the Commission of Inquiry for Religious Polarisation set up in 2009.

The commission was disbanded earlier this year. Sethna said, “For six years, I visited all districts and talukas of Gujarat and collected unofficial figures from 2004 to 2014 and found that about 35,000 unemployed youths — from places like Vapi, Tapi, Surat and Bharuch — were readied to fight for terrorism. Unfortunately, even after sharing this information with the government, nothing happened.”

Sethna also questioned the midnight hearing of the mercy petition of Yakub Memon hours before he was to be hanged. He said no such hearing would ever take place for a common man.

Incidentally, in August 2015, a division bench, led by then Acting Chief Justice V M Sahai, had issued notices to 27 sitting and retired judges of the Gujarat High Court. The proceedings were initiated after Justice Sahai (now retired) received letters written by two judges. One of them was Justice Sethna. The court had taken suo motu notice of these letters alleging irregularities in the allotment to 27 judges and took these up as a PIL. These plots were in Neetibaug Cooperative Housing Society and are located in the Sola and Gota areas which have emerged as plush neighbourhoods Ahmedabad. Some of the respondent judges approached the Supreme Court against the issuance of the notices which was stayed. The matter remains pending in the apex court.

Former Special Director of Intelligence Bureau Rajinder Kumar, who is also an accused in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, said in his speech that from September 2002 no major terrorists attack happened in Gujarat due to the state police.

“Whenever the information came, such attacks were averted even before it could be executed, yet the intelligence bureau was maligned by the CBI and the politicians.”

Vanzara said that all encounters were genuine behind which the “inspiration” was the Intelligence Bureau. He said, “Terrorists used to come from Pakistan and wanted to kill then chief minister Narendra Modi. I am proud that Gujarat Police was successful in saving Modi.”

Former Maharashtra DGP K P Raghuvanshi, former Chief Justice of J&K and Delhi High Court Justice (retd) B C Patel, Padma Shri awardee and former IPS officer Prakash Singh, retired Major General G D Bakshi were also present at the event.

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  1. O
    OMG
    Oct 10, 2016 at 1:14 am
    Arrest the retired judge for violation of oath of a judge and calling Supreme court's judgement an act of terrorism. He should be tried and preferably hanged for abeting killers, murderers, rapists, mutilaters.
    Reply
    1. S
      Saurabh
      Oct 10, 2016 at 5:07 am
      Sethna is looking for post retirement employment in BJP.
      Reply
      1. L
        Lord.RAM
        Oct 10, 2016 at 3:38 am
        IB is an official state terrorist organization. It provides henchmen service to international corporations to cull dissent and murder whistle blowers in foreign lands.
        Reply
        1. M
          Mathura
          Oct 10, 2016 at 4:26 am
          A g example of judicial terrorism when he as a judge did not question as to why all the witnesses turned hostile and instead of taking action against the witnesses. state officials who built up case around such witnesses so that the case is lost questions motive of NGO in the verdict and asks for probe
          Reply
          1. P
            Prasanna senapati
            Oct 10, 2016 at 9:03 am
            All those embled here are known modi supporters. The said judge should have resigned and expressed his anger, not enjo full term then spreading nonsense.
            Reply
            1. P
              Prasanna senapati
              Oct 10, 2016 at 9:03 am
              All those embled here are known modi supporters. The said judge should have resigned and expressed his anger, not enjo full term then spreading nonsense.
              Reply
              1. A
                atul
                Oct 10, 2016 at 2:35 am
                It's simple Muslim votes and petro Dollars makes this happen.
                Reply
                1. B
                  Bhagwat Goel
                  Oct 10, 2016 at 4:05 am
                  TOTALLY AGREE WITH JUSTICE SETHNA. THERE IS RAMPANT CORRUPTION IN JUDICIARY. EVEN IN SUPREME COURT AND HIGH COURT SENIOR ADVOCATES ALSO CLAIM THAT THEY CAN GET FAVOURABLE ORDERS FOR RIGHT AMOUNT OF MONEY. SENIOR ADVOCATE SHANTI BHUSHAN NAMED SIX CHIEF JUSTICES AS CORRUPT. 100 COMPLAINTS AGAINST HIGH COURT JUDGES ARE PENDING BEFORE CHIEF JUSTICE OF SUPREME COURT FOR DECADES-BURIED 100 FEET DEEP.
                  Reply
                  1. I
                    iftiindian
                    Oct 10, 2016 at 6:24 am
                    These former judges and IPS officers are pimp of RSS and work for bjpigs. These pimps never question those terrorists who killed more than three thousand people on behest of those who, now enjoy power at centre. Not only this these pimp used all their means to save the perpetrators of communal terrorism.
                    Reply
                    1. I
                      Indiana Jones
                      Oct 10, 2016 at 7:36 am
                      Judges with such views are a danger to any secular country. Thank God he is retired! He says he had asked to enquire about the source of Financials of the NGO who was involved in filing appeal against the lower court verdict. It appears he was more worried about the misdemeanors of the NGO than the travesty of justice at the lower court.
                      Reply
                      1. J
                        Joseph R Stephen
                        Oct 10, 2016 at 8:42 am
                        This man is BLACK SPOT in our famed Judiciary.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;He should have resigned many years ago and joined a political party.
                        Reply
                        1. K
                          khaja
                          Oct 10, 2016 at 5:18 am
                          IE Editor, please don't put my comment straight away in moderation, I don't think you are posting after your observation. These group are none but RSS group, while serving in their Posts itself, they worked with an unbiased approach. Are they blaming Supreme court or are they claiming that they are only people on whose shoulder India bears, like picture of Hercules. This is nothing but drama, Samuel rightly said, 'Patriotism is the last resort of scounderals' it fits exactly, isn't it.
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            K Narayana Pillai
                            Oct 10, 2016 at 5:40 am
                            What type of judges one can expect in a rotten political system? One former SC judge himself admitted that 40 of the SC judges are corrupt. Lower courts painstakingly hear the csses for days and months and the higher court judges turndown the after hearing few minutes. Some times give illogical and false reasons. See the example how Jayalalitha was acquitted by high court by by fabricating an arithmetic error by the judge. SC is still sitting on this case to complete her term of government or till her death. Lalu's corruption case will not be completed during his life time. The corrupt SC chief justice was rewarded after retirement posting him as NHRC chairman while his corruption case was still pending in SC. There is a lacunae in the selection of judges.
                            Reply
                            1. H
                              Hindu Rashtra
                              Oct 10, 2016 at 2:58 am
                              These Brahminical judges and their stooges in police are all bloodthirsty hooligans of first order who drink blood of innocent mes. Courts under these judges look like Khap Panchayats by murderers of hi in hi ' s place of birth.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                Mohan
                                Oct 10, 2016 at 5:04 am
                                Vote bank politics, misplaced freedom of right to speech, biased reporting have been the hall mark of major political parties and media. Judiciary too plays yo the gallery and accommodates its hearing depending upon profile of the accused or the counsel. In all these situation common man is the victim.
                                Reply
                                1. N
                                  Nata Rajan
                                  Oct 10, 2016 at 4:57 am
                                  It is under the effective control of chaturvarna protagonists.
                                  Reply
                                  1. N
                                    Nata Rajan
                                    Oct 10, 2016 at 4:56 am
                                    This comment is precise and to the point.
                                    Reply
                                    1. P
                                      Parshulakshya
                                      Oct 10, 2016 at 6:25 am
                                      The present Indian judiciary is worst in its history of post independence. Particularly SC is crossing all its consutional boundaries and tresping into executive domain creating hurdles in its legitimate consutional functioning. There is so much wide disagreement on the interpretation of Consution and Verdicts among the judges itself which is baffling . One Judge convicts a criminal other judge acquits him honourably . I also feel , why Supreme Court should be In Delhi? Yesterdays Ministers when defeated start practicing law In SC. They just shift their office to Sc building ,they play political cards and legal cards simultaneously some card will naturally win .
                                      Reply
                                      1. P
                                        Parshulakshya
                                        Oct 10, 2016 at 6:25 am
                                        The present Indian judiciary is worst in its history of post independence. Particularly SC is crossing all its consutional boundaries and tresping into executive domain creating hurdles in its legitimate consutional functioning. There is so much wide disagreement on the interpretation of Consution and Verdicts among the judges itself which is baffling . One Judge convicts a criminal other judge acquits him honourably . I also feel , why Supreme Court should be In Delhi? Yesterdays Ministers when defeated start practicing law In SC. They just shift their office to Sc building ,they play political cards and legal cards simultaneously some card will naturally win .
                                        Reply
                                        1. R
                                          rightam
                                          Oct 10, 2016 at 9:08 am
                                          We need more real judges like you Mr. Behram Jahanbux Sethna. Other wise most bend backwards to appease Siculiars and their convert slaves .Even world famous terrorists ate called Desh KI Beti just for vote and Kursi
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            Ram
                                            Oct 10, 2016 at 3:10 am
                                            This justice Sethna is unfit to have worked as judge in high court, has so much partiality towards powers and police. Why should the police be immune to cases when killed illegally?
                                            Reply
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