Debating India

GUJARAT

Gujarat, Centre invite SC’s wrath again

Times News Network

Friday 21 November 2003

NEW DELHI : In a strong indictment of the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court on Friday said that it appeared the Gujarat administration had failed to learn any lesson from the court’s repeated warnings to ensure justice to the victims of last year’s violence in the state.

Staying the trial in 10 riot cases - including those of Best Bakery and Godhra carnage, a Bench of Chief Justice V N Khare and Justices S B Sinha and A R Lakshmanan told additional solicitor-general Mukul Rohtagi: ’’We thought probably the Gujarat government is wiser now and that is why we did not take any action till now.’’

The court also asked Rohtagi, who is the Gujarat government’s counsel, to inform it within two weeks as to why these cases should not be transferred outside the state. The matter would be heard on December 19.

’’It is the duty of the state government to take effective steps to prosecute the accused,’’ the court said. ’’How many times does the Gujarat government need to be lectured on this aspect?’’ it wondered.

Earlier, the court had reminded the Modi government to follow the principles of ’’raj dharma’’.

The other cases pertain to the Naroda Patiya massacre, Gulbarga massacre, Sardarpura massacre and the killing of several persons at Ode.

During the hearing of petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission and a civil rights organisation led by Teesta Setalvad, Harish N Salve, who is assisting the court in Gujarat violence matters, sought the setting up of a high-powered committee of retired judges and eminent persons to scrutinise the cases in which many accused have been acquitted.

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