M A I N   N E W S

SC leaves Modi fate to trial court
Says Ahmedabad Sessions Court must assess evidence against Gujarat CM in ’02 riots
Won’t monitor case any more as probe was over; makes no mention of SIT findings 
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 12
Without making any comment on the investigation report on the allegations against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over the 2002 riots, the Supreme Court today made it clear it was for the trial court to make its own assessment and decide whether to proceed against him or not.

In a 10-page order, a three-member Bench headed by Justice DK Jain also carefully avoided giving even any hint on the contents of the probe report, prepared by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI Director RK Raghavan after questioning Modi twice in March 2010.

Modi was questioned after an apex court order on a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was burnt to death during the riots, alleging that Modi and his senior officials in the administration and police were part of a conspiracy to let the anti-Muslim riots go on unchecked. Zakia had come to the Supreme Court after the Gujarat High Court had turned down her plea for a probe by an independent agency into the conspiracy charge.

In an order passed on March 26, 2008, on her petition, the Supreme Court had asked the SIT to look into her complaint and the supporting material and conduct further investigations if necessary in the riots at Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Housing Society where Ehsan Jafri was living. The SIT had been constituted by the apex court earlier to investigate the riots cases and prosecute the accused.

After questioning Modi and others, the SIT chairman submitted his report to the Supreme Court on May 12, 2010, giving his assessment of the investigations conducted by two SIT members. After finding some discrepancies in the investigations and the assessment, the Bench, which included Justices P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, asked amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran to go through the two reports and reconcile the discrepancies.

After the amicus submitted his preliminary note on January 20 this year, the Bench asked the SIT on March 15 to conduct further investigations if necessary in the light of the note. Subsequently, the amicus gave his final report on July 25.

In today’s order, the Supreme Court asked the Ahmedabad Sessions Court, hearing the case relating to the Gulberg society, to seek the views of Zakia in case it was against taking cognisance of the SIT report after assessing the contents.

The trial court would have to seek Zakia’s response even in the case of the SIT choosing to file a closure report, contending that there was no evidence to proceed against Modi and others for the alleged conspiracy, the Supreme Court clarified.

The Bench also made it clear that since the investigation in the riots cases were over, it would no longer monitor the cases. “We are of the opinion that in the instant case we have reached a stage where the process of monitoring of the case must come to an end. It would neither be desirable nor advisable to retain further seisin over this case. We dispose of this appeal accordingly.”

The Supreme Court order described Zakia as one of the “hapless victims of the abominable and woeful events which took place in the state of Gujarat between February 2002 and May 2002 after the abhorrent Godhra incident on February 27, 2002.”

The apex court did not make any comment on the report, submitted to it in a sealed cover, for the obvious reason -- once it expresses its opinion, the trial court would not be in a position to make an independent assessment.

“Once the court (SC) satisfies itself that a proper investigation has been carried out, it would not venture to take over the functions of the Magistrate or pass any order which would interfere with his judicial functions,” the Bench explained, quoting an earlier verdict of the apex court.

SC on petitioner Zakia Jafri 

Wants sessions court to seek views of Zakia in case it was against taking cognisance of the SIT report after assessing the contents.

Says she is one of the “hapless victims of the abominable and woeful events which took place in the state of Gujarat between February and May 2002 after the abhorrent Godhra incident on  February 27, 2002.”

I am upset and disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision. I'm not saying that I don't believe in the Supreme Court, but there is a possibility that they missed out on something. If the SC could not do anything, what can I expect from the lower court 
— Zakia Jafri, Petitioner and wife of slain former MP Ehsan Jafri

God is great, tweets Modi

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday 
tweeted “God is great”, summing up in three words his reaction to the Supreme Court direction in the 2002 riots case. The reaction of the 
60-year-old BJP leader reflected his relief over the order. — PTI 

Feb-May 2002: Riots in Gujarat

Feb 28: MP Ehsan Jafri killed in Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad

June 8, 2006: Jafri’s widow  Zakia complains against Modi







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