Apex court hearing on Gujarat violence adjournedFebruary 19th, 2008 - 9:16 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday had to adjourn to next month the hearing of petitions seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into key cases of communal carnage in Gujarat in 2002 and transfer of their trial outside Gujarat. A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam adjourned the hearing after it was informed that counsel for the Gujarat government was suffering from a leg sprain in a freak accident.
The bench is seized with a bunch of pleas, including a few by the National Human Right Commission (NHRC), seeking either a CBI probe or the transfer of the trial of some key cases of communal carnage in Gujarat which followed the burning of a coach of the Sabarmati Express Feb 27, 2002.
The bench earlier sought the central government’s response to the plea for a CBI probe into the cases, involving large-scale violence, arson, rapes and murders in Ahmedabad and elsewhere.
In an affidavit filed last week, the government told the court it was willing to have the cases probed by the CBI and tried outside Gujarat.
“The central government submits it would have no objection to the investigation of the cases by the CBI and transfer outside Gujarat, if so desired by this court,” the union home ministry said in the affidavit.
In the state-wide violence following the train carnage, at least 1,000 people had died, majority of them from the Muslim community, as the Narendra Modi government faced criticism for allegedly biased handling of the situation.
Meanwhile, another bench, headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, took objection to civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad’s statements to the media, criticising the apex court for allegedly delaying the adjudication of various cases of Gujarat violence.
The bench questioned Setalvad’s locus standi while examining the validity of a law that binds trial courts to the recommendations made by the central review committee, formed to examine the charges of terrorism against those booked under now-repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Taking note of Setalvad’s statements, the bench, which also included Justice R.V. Raveendran, asked: “Who is she? What is her locus standi?”
Sensing the bench’s fury, various counsel present told the court they had nothing to do with her.