SC stops Gujarat court from ruling on Gulberg carnage closure report

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 17, 2013 13:50 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday asked an Ahmedabad court not to pronounce its orders on the closure report filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the allegations of inaction by Chief Minister Narendra Modi and senior state officials in the Gulberg Society carnage during the 2002 riots.

A bench of Justice D.K. Jain, Justice P.Sathasivam and Justice Aftab Alam passed its order while hearing a petition by Zakia Nasim Jaffri, wife of a former Congress MP killed in the Gulberg Society carnage, that the magistrate's court has not given her all the documents that SIT had relied upon while filing the closure report of its investigation into her complaint.

Jaffri's husband Ehsan Jafri was one of the 69 killed at Gulberg Society. The SIT, headed by CBI's former director R.K. Raghvan, was set up by the apex court to probe the 2002 Gujarat riots cases.

Appearing for Zakia Jaffri, counsel Kamini Jaiswal told the court that the denial of all the documents by the magistrate court that SIT had relied upon for filing its closure report was contrary to the Sep 12, 2011 order of the apex court.

This order of the apex court said that if the SIT's report finds "no sufficient evidence or reasonable grounds" for proceeding against any person named in Jaffri's June 8, 2006 complaint, the court concerned, before taking a final decision on such closure report, "shall issue notice to the complainant and make available to her copies of the statements of the witnesses, other related documents and the investigation report strictly in accordance with law as enunciated by this Court...".

Jaiswal told the court that the lower court has already closed her client's right to file objections to the closure report. She also said that she could not have filed any objection in the absence of access to documents that SIT had relied upon in filing its closure report.

As Gujarat's Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta told the court that their right to argue was still there, Jaiswal said: "What will we argue without reports?"

Asking the lower court not to pronounce any order on the closure report, the court also issued notice to Gujarat government on Jaffri's plea seeking access to all the documents that SIT took into consideration before filing the closure report.

Directing the listing of the matter on Feb 7, the court described as "unfortunate" that despite its unequivocal order that several reports of the SIT submitted to it would not be given to anyone, the Nanavati Commission, inquiring into Gujarat riot cases, was threatening Raghvan with action.

"Our concern is that our order is not vague. It is very specific. It is unfortunate that inspite of its being extracted before the commission, they are asking SIT chairman to give the reports," observed Justice Sathasivam.

Taking note of the "threatening letter" received by Raghvan from the commission, Justice Jain asked him if he was apprehending any action.

Noting that SIT report was the property of the apex court and SIT was not at liberty to part with it, Justice Jain said: "This court's order was not confined to a particular case but pertains to entire reports of the SIT."

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