The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would like to see the report of the closure of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that gave the clean slate to 64 people, including Narendra Modi who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat during the state riots in 2002, and the justification given by the Magistrates’ Court when accepted. A hearing, presided over by Judge A. NS. Khanwelkar hearing the petition of Zakia Jafri, wife of murdered Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, defying her lawyer Kapil Sibal who presented it, we are not concerned with VIPs. There is nothing political. We are on law, order and individual rights.
The senior attorney said he did not want to convict the people named in Jeffrey’s complaint at this time and that his case was a larger conspiracy where there was bureaucratic inaction, police collusion, hate speech and unleashed violence. While Sibal was submitting the applications, the board, which also includes Judges Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, said we wanted to see the justification given in the (SIT’s) shutdown report. We want to see the judge’s decision and reasons for accepting the report.
Chief Advocate referred to Supreme Court orders, SIT reports and Friend of Court Raju Ramachandran to show that clean streak and its subsequent acceptance by the courts below was not limited to the Gulberg Society case in which Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people murdered in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. We have made efforts To show the court that SIT reporting was not limited to the Gulberg Society massacre and even Zakiya Jafri’s complaint and closing minutes were not limited to just one case, Seibal added that lower courts refused to consider the materials.
If we limit it to Gulberg only, what happens to the concept of the rule of law, what happens to all subjects. The republic stands or falls based on what the court does, he said. Attorney General Tushar Mehta said the original complaint was filed by Zakia Jafri, who resided at the Golberg Society in Ahmedabad.
Initially, Sibal referred to the list of dates in the matter starting with the Gujarat riots of 2002 and said that the petitioner had lodged a complaint with the Director General of Police (DGP) saying that before the terrible tragedy, there were certain aspects that incited communal violence. He said the Special Investigations Unit was already in the process of confiscating several facts but did not consider it while filing the shutdown report.
Sibal said the evidence was part of the record and apart from that, there was also a stinging operation by a journalist. If you look at it, you will be shocked. He said that this stinging operation had not been considered.
He said there is evidence to be taken into account to ascertain whether the crime was committed and the evidence relates to the fact that the police did not take any action, hate speeches were made and false information was conveyed to the people. Referring to Article 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with knowledge of crimes, he said that the judge is bound by his duty to take note when the court is informed of certain facts and information constituting the commission of the crime.
The attorney said he was concerned about a complaint that arose from SIT’s investigation closing report that already contained several facts. Sibal said the District Court said it would not consider anything else and would only consider Zakia Jefri’s limited complaint in the Golberg Association case.
The material collected by SIT was not only related to Golberg. He said that the case was not only in Golberg’s eyes, but our petition of protest, and all the material should have been seen, adding that witness statements were related to the whole of Gujarat and not to a single case. The seat will resume Wednesday’s hearing via default.
Ehsan Jafri, a former MP, was among 68 people killed in the Gulberg Assembly in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, a day after the burning of an S-6 coach at Sabarmati Express in Godhra killing 59 people and sparking riots in Gujarat. On 8 February 2012, the Special Investigations Unit filed a report shutting down a file that Modi, the incumbent prime minister, and 63 others, including senior government officials, acknowledge, saying there was “no prosecutable evidence” against them.
Zakiya Jafri filed a petition in the High Court in 2018 challenging the October 5, 2017 Gujarat High Court order dismissing her petition against the decision of the Independent High Court. The petition also asserted that after the Special Investigations Unit made a clean slate of closure report before the trial judge, Zakia Al-Jefri filed a protest petition which the judge dismissed without considering the “proven merits.”
It also said that the Supreme Court “failed to appreciate” the petitioner’s complaint, which was independent of the Golberg Society case registered at a police station in Ahmedabad. The Supreme Court said in its October 2017 order that the SIT investigation was monitored by the Supreme Court. It did, however, partially allow Zakiya Jafri’s petition regarding her request for further investigation.
She said the petitioner could contact the appropriate forum, including the Magistrates’ Court, the bench of the Supreme Court, or the Supreme Court seeking further investigation.