Gujarat appointee for shootout probe monitoring rejected (Second Lead)

February 24th, 2012 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) The Supreme court Friday refused to accept the Gujarat government’s appointee to head the monitoring authority which would have overseen a probe into 22 alleged staged shootouts that took place in the state between 2002 and 2006.

The Gujarat government Thursday appointed Justice (retd.) K.R. Vyas to head the monitoring authority after Justice M.B. Shah (former judge of the apex court) declined the state government’s offer of the post.

The apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai questioned the Gujarat government on making appointment without informing the court.

It said its reservation on the appointment of Justice Vyas as the head of the monitoring authority was in no way an aspersion on his credentials.

Additional Advocate General of Gujarat Tushar Mehta told the court that the case material in the shootout killing was voluminous and in Gujarati, thereby suggesting that the head of the monitoring authority knowing Gujarati would facilitate the supervision of the investigation.

Mehta told the court he had personally approached the former judge of the apex court Justice C.K.Thakkar to head the monitoring committee but he declined the offer. Justice Thakkar lives in Ahmedabad after his retirement.

The court then asked counsel both of the Gujarat government and petitioner B.G. Verghese along with lyricist writer Javed Akthar to suggest the name to head the authority.

As counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for Javed Akthar suggested the name of former apex court judge, Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy, Gujarat government senior counsel Ranjit Kumar said he needed to take instructions from the state government.

Sensing the apparent constraint of the Gujarat government’s counsel Ranjit Kumar in accepting the name of Justice Reddy, Bhushan proposed the name of former Delhi High Court Chief Justice of A.P.Shah, but even that was not warmly received by the Gujarat government’s counsel.

Finding no consensus on the choice of the judge between the state government and the petitioners, the court adjourned the hearing till Monday.

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