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Gujarat action in bakery case misconceived, says SC
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 7
The Supreme Court today dismissed Gujarat Government’s plea for modification of its judgement regarding the transfer of Best Bakery case for retrial in Maharashtra with severe strictures against it, saying the government application in this regard is “thoroughly misconceived.”

By examining the arguments raised by the Gujarat Government, “lead to the inevitable conclusion that the application is thoroughly misconceived, a sheer abuse of process of law and deserves to be dismissed with exemplary costs. But we refrain from imposing any cost,” a Bench of Mr Justice Doraiswamy Raju and Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat said.

Rejecting the state government’s contention that the Supreme Court could not have expanded the scope of its and complainant Zahira Sheikh’s appeals, while ordering the transfer even when there was no specific prayer for this, the Bench said it was done to ensure real justice.

The court said: “It has ample jurisdiction to fix the place or the court which should undertake such exercise, keeping in view the needs of justice in a given case with the objective of ensuring real, substantial and proper justice, that too as an inevitable and necessary corollary of the decision to set aside the judgement of courts below.”

“It is beyond comprehension and not only unethical but impermissible for anyone to expect that this Bench could not or ought not to have disposed of the appeals, as they deserve and the manner in which interests of justice would require,” it said.

The Supreme Court was entitled under Article 136 of the Constitution to deal with a case, as warranted, necessitated and deserved under law, and “it is pernicious for anyone to think or expect, as to how it should dispose it of, as some would desire, partially or in a perfunctory manner.”

Also rejecting Gujarat Government’s plea for expunging of the severe strictures against its functionaries for failing to protect the lives of innocent people and provide them justice, the court said: “This submission shows lack of awareness and want of understanding, apparently deliberately feigned, about the functioning of the appellate courts.”

Stating that the observations were not personal comments against anyone but against the system, which failed to come up to the general expectations, the court said it failed to understand how such observations would have demoralising effect on the High Court, the trial courts or the justice delivery system in the state.

Taking strong exception to such argument by the state government, the court said: “The observations and criticism as to the manner of disposal have to be soberly read with objectivity and not out of context or even as a provision of an act or rule, with pre-conceived notions apparently exposing virtually ones’ own hidden desires or agendas.”

The way prosecution and the courts below dealt with the case, called for stronger handling, but “we desisted from doing so, keeping in view a fond hope that all those concerned without at least attempt to show better performance, greater circumspection and desired awareness to do real, effective and substantial justice,” the Bench said.

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