Updated: September 7, 2019 7:31:12 am
The state government Friday told the Gujarat High Court that it will table Justice G T Nanavati and Justice Akshay Mehta Commission’s final report on the 2002 Gujarat riots during the Assembly’s budget session.
The final report was handed over by the commission to the then Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in November 2014, months after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister that year. The statement by the state government through advocate general Kamal Trivedi was submitted in response to a public interest litigation filed by retired DGP R B Sreekumar on August 30.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi’s statement before the high court said, “While categorically denying all the averments and allegations of the petitioner, it is stated that Part-I of the Report of Justices Nanavati-Mehta Commission has already been tabled on 25.09.2009 (sic) in the Legislative Assembly and it has already been decided to table Part-II of the said report in the ensuing budget session of the legislative assembly.”
The first part of the report that mainly dealt with the case was handed over by Justices Nanavati and Mehta to then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in September 2008, and was tabled in the state assembly immediately. This report gave a clean chit to Modi and his government.
The government of Gujarat first appointed a single-member commission in March 2002, and then in May that year, reconstituted the commission from a single-member to a two-membered panel, which was headed by Nanavati, former Supreme Court judge, as the chairperson and Justice K G Shah, former high court judge, as a member. After Shah’s demise, the state government appointed Mehta, former judge of Gujarat HC.
Sreekumar had first made a representation before chief minister Patel in 2015 demanding that the entire report be made public.
A contention raised in his PIL states, “The question that even today requires consideration is whether the state government, having been accused of its dubious role during 2002 Gujarat riots, be permitted to to persist with tabling an incomplete report by splitting the first part of the reference in the Legislative Assembly during the monsoon session that began on September 25, 2008 and withholding the second part of the report, which it has done since 2008.”
The petitioner states that since the Commission had clubbed the tragic incidents of February 27, 2002, the report should be looked at in toto and “tabling one part of the report and making it (only one part) public is not only detrimental to the public interest as outlined in the Commission of Inquiry’s Act but in actual fact, also surmounts to splitting the terms of reference of the state government, into two.”
“The present petition is filed purely in public interest against the inaction on the part of the state of Gujarat, especially the chief secretary, state of Gujarat in not making the full report of the Nanavati-(Shah)-Mehta public by placing it in the Gujarat state assembly… huge amount of public money was spent by the state government for this Commission and therefore its findings and recommendations is required to be made public. The state government has no legal right to sit over the report and suppress the truth,” states the petition.
Following the state government’s submission Friday, the division bench of the Gujarat High Court disposed of the petition.
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