The Supreme Court will hear on November 19 a plea by Zakia Jafri, widow of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, challenging the decision of a Gujarat court to accept the report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that gave a clean chit to several people, including then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, after probing her complaint on the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Eighty-year-old Zakia’s Special Leave Petition (SLP) came up Tuesday before Justices A M Khanwilkar and Deepak Gupta who fixed the date for hearing. Her husband, a former Congress MP, was killed by a mob which attacked the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on the afternoon of February 28, 2002. She has challenged the October 5, 2017 judgment of the Gujarat High Court upholding a magistrate order accepting the closure report filed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT to probe the violence during the riots. She contended that the High Court order, which came on her revision plea, was “erroneous”.
Zakia said the Supreme Court had directed that she should be given an opportunity to file a protest petition in case the SIT decided to submit a closure report. According to her SLP, though the SIT filed a closure report before the Metropolitan Magistrate, Ahmedabad on February 8, 2012, she was not provided “requisite records”, forcing her to approach the Supreme Court which “was pleased to pass an order… granting the Petitioner copies of the Special Investigation Team’s Investigation records and documents dated 12.05.2010, 17.11.2010 and 24.04.2011”.
Zakia said she “was therefore constrained to file a comprehensive protest petition dated 15.04.2013 opposing the closure report filed by the Special Investigation Team”, but “the Learned Magistrate rejected the Petitioner’s Protest Petition and accepted the closure report filed by the Special Investigation Team by an order dated 26.12.2013”.
“The SIT”, she contended, “had come to the conclusion that no case was made out and it was accepted by the Magistrate and this finding was erroneously reiterated by the High Court, despite large amount of documentation and contemporaneous evidence that existed which meritoriously made out a triable case against all the accused”.
Zakia, who has appealed to the Supreme Court that her complaint should be probed further, is now unable to walk without support. She moved out of Ahmedabad after the riots and lives with her son Tanveer and his family in Surat. Tanveer now handles legal matters on her behalf, attending courts in Gujarat and the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, after the Supreme Court decided to hear her petition, Zakia said: “My son called me in the afternoon and told me that our case challenging the Gujarat High Court decision came up in the Supreme Court and hearing will start from next Monday. I am too old to travel such far distance. My son and daughter-in-law are helping me, giving me support in my long, hard battle… I have kept hope that I will get justice one day.”