Gujarat Riots: SC disposes of pleas seeking proper probe

Apex court disposed of ten petitions including those filed by CJP and NHRC

Gujarat Riots

On August 30, the Supreme Court disposed of ten petitions seeking a proper probe into cases of violence that took place during the communal riots of 2002 in Gujarat. These include transfer petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and a writ petition filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) seeking a transfer of investigation from the Gujarat Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In fact, CJP had played a key role in helping survivors and families of victims of the carnage seek justice. CJP had not only provided them with legal aid, but also bring about key legal reforms pertaining to victimology. CJP also helped secure witness protection for those who were facing intimidation by influential local strongmen. It was due to CJP’s persistent efforts that over 160 convictions could be secured in the various riots cases including the Naroda Patiya massacre, even though some key accused were let off on appeal.

But today, a Bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit, and Justices N Ravindra Bhat and JB Pardiwala, noted that the Court had constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe nine cases, and the trials in eight of these were completed. The trial in the Naroda Gaon case is the only one that is still ongoing, and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SIT, informed the Court that even that case is at the stage of final arguments. The Court, therefore, disposed of the cases as infructuous.

LiveLaw quoted the bench as observing, “Since all matters have now become infructuous, this court is of the view that this Court need not entertain these petitions any longer. The matters are therefore disposed off as being infructuous.”

It however, made a clarification with respect to the Naroda Gaon case and said, “It is however directed that the Trial with respect to Naroda Gaon be taken into conclusion in accordance with law and to that extent the Special Investigating Team appointed by this court be certainly entitled to take appropriate steps in accordance with law.”

Story will be updated with copy of the order shortly.


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