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SC anguished over leak of SIT report to media

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its decision on the bunch of petitions filed in 2003 by the National Human Rights Commission besides others...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
April 22, 2009 11:41:23 pm

Apex court reserves order on plea to transfer 2002 riot cases outside Gujarat

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its decision on the bunch of petitions filed in 2003 by the National Human Rights Commission besides others,which sought the transfer of trials of the 2002 post-Godhra riots outside Gujarat and an independent inquiry into some of the major riot cases.

The special bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat,after hearing all the parties concerned — the amicus curiae,Gujarat government,Centre and few individual petitioners apart from the NHRC — said,“We will close the case for orders.”

The bench,while reserving its decision,admonished a section of the media for carrying contents from the confidential report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT). Advocate Indira Jaisingh complained that when the NHRC and victims were denied access to the SIT report since it was placed before the court in a sealed cover,how could certain selective extracts be carried by a section of the media.

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Justice Pasayat said he felt “anguished and pained” about the leaking of the sealed report,which was ordered to be given only to the amicus,senior advocate Harish Salve and the Gujarat government. “We do not approve of such an act,” observed the bench,also comprising justices P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam. Justice Pasayat termed it as “grossly irresponsible” on the part of those who leaked the contents to the media. He observed that anybody who leaked the report has betrayed the trust of the court.

Earlier,Salve submitted a few suggestions as sought by the court in the previous hearing,to set up fast-track courts to conduct the trial,which has been stayed since 2003. The SIT has suggested that six fast-track courts should be established for 10 major riot cases,but the court indicated it will leave it to the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court “to decide depending upon the number of accused and witnesses”. The court also reposed trust on the CJ of the Gujarat High Court to appoint judicial officers to conduct those trials.

For appointment of public prosecutors,the bench clearly indicated that they will be appointed “in consultation with the SIT”,besides ensuring that the SIT “would continue to function” even when the trials commence. The court also indicated that the SIT may be made responsible to apprise the apex court periodically,“in case anything is deficient” during the trials.

Naroda gam,naroda patiya

Kodnani instigated worst-ever riot
THE Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) has said that Gujarat witnessed one of the most gruesome massacres – the Naroda Patiya massacre of 2002 riots – on the instigation of BJP leader and former minister Dr Maya Kodnani. The statement was made by the SIT in its affidavit opposing the bail application of Dr Kodnani in connection with the Naroda Patiya case.
Dr Kodnani is facing charges of instigating communal riots in the Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya localities of Naroda area in Ahmedabad on February 28,2002. A number of witnesses in the two cases have said they had seen Dr Kodnani at the rioting scene distributing weapons among rioters. A female witness has even stated that she had seen Dr Kodnani firing from a pistol-like weapon.
Ninety-five people were killed and 38 were injured in the Naroda Patiya massacre. Three persons went missing then,who have now been declared dead.
Dr Kodnani had applied for regular bail in the court of Sessions Judge A K Aswani in the Naroda Gam and the Naroda Patiya massacres. The hearing on Dr Kodnani’s bail application in the Naroda Patiya case has been kept for April 28. The Gujarat High Court had earlier cancelled the anticipatory bail granted to Dr Kodnani by the Sessions Court. The SIT has arrested 67 people in the Naroda Patiya case so far of which 63 have been charge sheeted.

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