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Best Bakery: Guj objects to case transfer to Maharashtra

PTI

Wednesday 21 April 2004

NEW DELHI, APR 21 (PTI) The Gujarat Government today questioned the Supreme Court’s decision to order transfer of the infamous Best Bakery case to a Maharashtra court for retrial, saying the court could not have done it as it was not at all an issue before it.

cases from Gujarat, Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohtagi told a Bench of Chief Justice V N Khare, Justice S B Sinha and Justice S H Kapadia that the state has already filed its plea for modification of the April 12 order passed by the Bench of Justice Doraiswamy Raju and Justice Arijit Pasayat which transferred of Best Bakery case to Maharashtra for retrial.

The issued of transfer of the Best Bakery case was never prayed for and not at all argued upon by the parties. Moreover, the transfer issue was pending before the Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, Rohtagi submitted and wondered how some other Bench could pass such an order.

Seeking modification of the court’s direction for retrial of the case in a Sessions Court in Maharashtra, the state Government urged the apex court to order retrial of the case in the same Sessions Court in Gujarat or any other Sessions Court in Gujarat under the supervision of the High Court.

The state also requested the court to expunge the remarks censuring it as modern day "Neros" who looked elsewhere when innocent children and helpless women were being burnt.

The state’s plea filed on Monday last would come up for hearing before the Bench headed by Justice Raju in due course.

The Gujarat Government said in its plea that "the ramifications of this transfer are serious in so far as the State Administration, the State Judiciary as also the accused and the prosecution are concerned.

"No material was placed before the Court justifying this transfer outside the State", it submitted.

In its historic judgment on April 12, the apex court had allowed the appeals filed by key witness Zahira Sheikh and the Gujarat Government and ordered retrial and reinvestigation of the Best Bakery case reversing the orders of both the trial court and the High Court which had acquitted all the 21 accused.

Fourteen persons were burnt alive when a mob set afire Best Bakery at Vadodara on March 1, 2002 during the riots that erupted in Gujarat following the burning of Sabarmati Express at Godhra on February 27, 2002 killing 57 persons. Zahira, an eye-witness to the incident, lost her family in the incident.

P.S.

lien vers SC Makes the Best Possible History

lien vers full text of the judgment

in Outlook India, PTI, Wednesday, april 21, 2004.

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