HC asks state govt to let Sanjiv Bhatt inspect all available intel documentshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/hc-asks-state-govt-to-let-sanjiv-bhatt-inspect-all-available-intel-documents/

HC asks state govt to let Sanjiv Bhatt inspect all available intel documents

In the PIL,the petitioners had sought that the state government be directed to provide Bhatt with certain intelligence documents.

The Gujarat High Court on Monday directed the state government to allow inspection of all intelligence documents which were available and sought by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to file an affidavit before the Nanavati-Mehta Commission. A division bench of the HC,comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala,passed an order in this regard while acting on an application moved by the state government that sought to clarify an HC order passed in October 2012,based on Advocate General Kamal Trivedi’s statement related to the records,which was later found contrary to facts.

Based on the Advocate General’s statement,the HC bench had disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL),jointly moved by Bhatt and civil rights organisation People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

In the PIL,the petitioners had sought that the state government be directed to provide Bhatt with certain intelligence documents so that he could file an affidavit before the Nanavati-Mehta Commission,probing the 2002 Godhra carnage and the subsequent communal riots. The PIL was moved after the state government did not allow Bhatt access to those records. The then government counsel told the media that some of the documents sought by Bhatt had been destroyed.

The Advocate General,at the relevant time,told the court that the documents sought by Bhatt were not destroyed,they were available and provided to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission. However,shortly after that,the state government made it clear before the Commission that nine out of the 47 documents sought by Bhatt had been destroyed in “routine course”.

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A senior IPS officer filed an affidavit in this regard before the Commission. The state government had produced only 15 out of the 47 documents sought by Bhatt. While nine of them had been claimed to be destroyed,many of them were claimed to be either being traced or not maintained or marked as secret.

Subsequently,the state government moved the instant application,seeking to clarify the statement of the Advocate General,contending that it was a bonafide mistake committed due to some misunderstanding in communication. The application was vehemently opposed by Bhatt and PUCL.

Bhatt’s lawyer,Anand Yagnik,said,“Bhatt had sought 47 documents. Out of those,the government has said that nine were destroyed. The court has ordered them to provide inspection of all the available set of documents,which are 38,to Bhatt whether they are classified or not.”