A division bench of the Gujarat High Court today dismissed a petition demanding that the Nanavati-Mehta Commission be directed to summon Chief Minister Narendra Modi and three others for questioning in the 2002 Godhra train attack and the riots that followed.
The bench comprising Justices Akil Kureshi and Sonia Gokani said the state government-appointed commission had wide discretionary powers to summon witnesses and it did not want to interfere.The Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM),which had moved the court,said they would challenge the judgment in the Supreme Court.The Manch,which represents some of the riot victims,had demanded that Modi and three members of the Chief Ministers Office at the time of the violence,Om Prakash Singh,Tanmay Mehta and Sanjay Bhavsar,be called to the commission and cross-examined. The application was filed by the JSM in 2007,but after hearing it in 2009,the commission had dismissed it,stating that the material produced by the organisation was not enough.
If the submissions made by the applicant are accepted… all government officials and officers of the police force will have to be summoned,as they were directly concerned with law and order, the commission had observed. We are of the view that… only those persons against whom there is some material to show their involvement in the post-Godhra incidents should be summoned.
The JSM had gone to the high court,where a single-judge bench had upheld the commissions decision. Subsequently,the JSM had challenged the order before a division bench.