Rights panel denied post-Godhra carnage probe report

March 2nd, 2009 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday denied a copy of the special enquiry report on the post-Godhra carnage to the National Human Right Commission (NHRC), on whose plea the apex court had last year formed an investigative panel to probe the 2001 Gujarat communal riots.
A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat summarily brushed aside the NHRC counsel Sanjay Parekh’s plea for a copy of the report.

The report was submitted to the court earlier in a sealed cover by the probe panel headed by the former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director R.K. Raghavan.

The bench, which also included Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Aftab Alam, refused Parekh’s plea saying the rights panel does not need it.

Declaring the report to be confidential, the bench ordered that copies of the report should be given to the Gujarat government and senior counsel Harish Salve, appointed by the court as “amicus curiae” (not a party to the case) to assist it in the matter.

The bench sought their replies, including views and suggestion on the probe report, within three weeks and posted the matter for next hearing April 13.

The bench formed the probe panel last year March 26, on pleas by the NHRC, some civil societies and several individuals, affected by the communal carnage. The riots broke out following the burning of 52 Hindu pilgrims in a coach of the Sabarmati Express train Feb 27, 2002 near Godhra railway station in Gujarat.

The petitions by the NHRC and others had demanded a CBI probe and transfer of the trial of these cases outside Gujarat. The union government, in its reply to the lawsuits, had supported the demands.

But the apex court eventually formed a special team, headed by Raghvan to conduct the probe.

Though the apex court had asked the probe panel to submit the details within three months of its appointment, it submitted the report after nearly a year.

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