Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Friday
adjourned till December 26 hearing on a plea seeking direction
to the Nanavati Commission to summon Chief Minister Narendra
Modi for questioning in connection with the 2002 riots.
On April 22, a division bench of the then chief Justice S
J Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi had reserved the order
on petition by an NGO representing some of the riot victims,
Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), seeking questioning of the Chief
Minister and seven others.
But with Justice Mukhopadhaya being elevated to Supreme
Court in September the matter has been placed before another
bench consisting of Justice Kureshi and Justice Sonia Gokani,
which came up for hearing on Friday.
Justice Kureshi on Friday directed government pleader P K
Jani to get information from the state government about the
possibility of extension to the Nanavati Commission, the term
of which gets over on December 31.
The court said that after hearing the matter the order
should be meaningful and having such a short time to decide on
the plea puts strain on it.
It directed Jani to inform by December 19, in a
confidential manner, about the possibility of extension for
the Nanavati panel which was constituted in March 2002.
The court also said that after getting information from
government, the hearing would begin from December 26.
The Nanavati Commission comprises retired Justices G T
Nanavati and Akshay Mehta. The riot panel`s term has been
extended 17 times so far by the state government.
The JSM had approached the high court last year seeking
quashing of Commission`s order of not summoning Modi and
demanding issuance of summons to the CM, and six others for
cross examination with regard to the 2002 riots.
Mukul Sinha appearing for JSM had argued that summoning
of Modi and others was required for collecting evidence with
regard to the Godhra train burning incidents and post-Godhra
riots, and not questioning them would be against the terms of
reference of the Commission.
The state government had opposed JSM plea contending that
the NGO had no locus standi to seek summoning of Modi and
question him with regard to 2002 riots.
In September 2009, the Commission had rejected JSM`s
application seeking summoning of Modi and six others including
the then Home minister Gordhan Zadafia, for cross examination
with regard to 2002 riots, saying that they did not find
justification in cross-examining them at that point of time.
JSM than approached the High Court seeking quashing of
the Nanavati Commission`s order in November 2009. However, a
single bench of Justice K S Jhaveri dismissed its petition
saying that the Commission had not completed its inquiry and
still had power to summon Modi.
Following this JSM filed an appeal before division bench
of Justice Mukhopadhaya and Justice Kureshi where it sought
quashing of Commission`s order and issuance of summons
to Modi and others.