Turning down Gujarat government’s objections, the Supreme Court Wednesday ordered that a copy of the report of Justice (Retd) H S Bedi committee that probed alleged fake encounters in the state between 2002 and 2006 be given to the petitioner in the matter.
“He is the petitioner. He has set the law in motion…Then why can’t he?,” said Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, heading a three-judge bench along with Justices L Nageswar Rao and S K Kaul, as the bench directed that the copy of the report be given to advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The court, however, made it clear that this was not the stage of accepting or rejecting the report.
The state government had objected to the petitioner’s plea for a copy of the report, saying the court’s direction to Justice (retd) Bedi was to prepare it in consultation with other members of the monitoring committee set up by the state government but he had chosen to prepare it on his own. Following this, the court had on the last date of hearing asked Justice Bedi to explain whether he had consulted the other members.
CJI Gogoi said on Wednesday that Justice Bedi had filed an eight-page reply in which he said “before giving the reply, I discussed with members of the monitoring committee” and that “hearing was held in presence of monitoring committee”.
The court pointed out that “earlier reports” submitted by Justice Bedi “are in the nature of status reports”, but “this is the findings”.
As the state kept up its objections, the bench said, “We are not accepting this report now…Your objections will come at the stage of accepting or not or the report. That stage has not come now.”
The state government then requested that the petitioner should be directed not to make its contents public, but the court did not pay heed to the plea.