Court dismisses suit against tabling part of Nanavati report

September 24th, 2008 - 12:44 am ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Sep 23 (IANS) The Gujarat High Court Tuesday dismissed a suit seeking direction to quash a part of the report of the Nanavati Commission on the 2002 Sabarmati Express train burning at Godhra and the riots that followed in Gujarat in which at least 1,100 people were killed.A division bench comprising Chief Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice M.S. Shah observed that Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act did not prevent the Nanavati Commission from releasing a part of the report nor did it say whether a part report could be filed in the state assembly.

The PIL was filed by the Citizens for Justice and Peace and the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties seeking direction to stop the Gujarat government from tabling part of the report in the forthcoming assembly session commencing Thursday.

The Justice G.T. Nanavati panel on Sep 18 Thursday submitted the first part of its report. The commission’s final report is yet to come. The details of the report are not known.

The two-member Nanavati Commission investigated the February 2002 Godhra train burning that killed 59 Hindus and the subsequent communal riots that swept the state. It examined over 1,000 witnesses over six years.

Petitioner advocate M.M. Tirmizi contended that the Commission was set up to probe the Godhra and the post-Godhra riots in totality and hence could not be split into two parts. He pleaded that it should be an overall report of the complete inquiry.

The first part of the report dealt with the Godhra incidents and did not reflect the role of the chief minister, others ministers and government officials in the ensuing riots, he said.

“A comprehensive report after full inquiry of the Godhra and post-Godhra incidents ought to be submitted to the state government and then tabled in the assembly,” Tirmizi contended.

Tirmizi said that placing a part report of the inquiry is not in tune with Supreme Court judgments. “The prejudicial role of the state government had been exposed following the Supreme Court order of a re-trial into the Best Bakery and Bilkis Bano cases outside Gujarat” wherein the apex court had also directed the Gujarat government to appoint another public prosecutor for the two cases on a request by the victims. He also quoted from the affidavits filed by former Additional Director General of police R.B. Sreekumar about the role of the state in the post-Godhra riots.

Tabling one part of the report was detrimental to public interest and would mean splitting the terms of reference of the Nanavati panel into two, violating the terms of reference of the Commission as it was asked to look into the Godhra and post-Godhra incidents in totality, he said.

Therefore the government should not be allowed to place part of the report in the house on Sep 25, he contended.

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