Apex court refuses to suspend Nanavati Commission report (Lead)

October 13th, 2008 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday turned down a plea for suspending the Nanavati Commission report that said the 2002 Godhra train carnage was a pre-planned conspiracy by some individuals.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Aftab Alam turned down the plea by civil rights group Citizen for Justice and Peace, saying the report had made no recommendation, which could be suspended.

Unimpressed by the fervent pleas of Delhi High Court’s former chief justice Rajinder Sachchar, who appeared for the civil rights group, for suspension of the report tabled in Gujarat assembly Sep 25, the bench asked him, “What is really your apprehension? We do not even know if the commission has made any recommendation.”

Former attorney general Soli J. Sorabjee, appearing for the Gujarat government, said: “The report has not made any recommendation.”

Contending that the report has termed the February 2002 Godhra train carnage as a pre-planned conspiracy by some individuals, Sachchar apprehended that acting on this finding, the state government might launch prosecution and persecution of citizens of a particular community.

To this Sorabjee responded: “I’m willing to make a statement here and have it recorded by the court that the findings of this report will not influence in any way the ongoing trial (of the individuals involved in the carnage).”

Sachchar argued that the Nanavati Commission report should be suspended in the same manner as the Gujarat High Court had stopped the Justice U.C. Banerjee Committee report from being tabled in parliament.

Constituted by the railway ministry to probe into the train carnage, the Banerjee committee had concluded that the fire in the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express train at the Godhra railway station was accidental and had erupted from inside the coach, killing 59 people on their way back home from Ayodhya.

The bench, however, pointed out that a single bench of the high court had subsequently held the constitution of the Justice Banerjee committee itself as illegal.

And that’s why the report could never be tabled, said the bench.

The bench also dismissed Sachchar’s fear that circulation of the report would spread communal tension in the country.

Directing the state government’s counsel to file his reply within three weeks to the
lawsuit by Sachchar, the bench adjourned the hearing on the matter.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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