Deviating from main issue in Gujarat riots cases: SC

SC on Wednesday voiced exasperation that it was being made to deviate from its main objective.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday voiced
exasperation that it was being made to deviate from its main
objective of monitoring developments relating to post-Godhra
riots cases because the parties to the cases are frequently
bringing up various issues having little relevance.

"We know we are deviating from the real issue," a
three-judge bench headed by Justice D K Jain said adding that
parties are raising before it one or the other issues having
no relevance to the main matter.
"What is the reason for deviation is known to the
parties," the Bench, also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and
Aftab Alam, said.

The remarks came when an NGO and some others, opposing
the working of the Special Investigating Team (SIT), drew its
attention to the Bench about the response filed to the
application of SIT Chairman R K Raghavan seeking reinstatement
of senior Gujarat cadre IPS officers Shivanand Jha and Geeta
Johri who were taken off the panel after the apex court`s
April 6 order.

"Did we pass any order on the request of SIT Chairman?
What is the relevance of raising the issue of SIT Chairman
seeking retaining of its two members?" the Bench said making
it clear that such things have made it to deviate from the
main issue.

The Bench was hearing the plea of the NGO Citizen for
Justice and Peace and some rights activists who had made
allegations against the SIT and sought its reconstitution.
Gujarat government has opposed the reconstitution.

It also expressed anguish over the role of a special
public prosecutor who wrote a letter to the SIT making
allegations against the trial judge. The letter was leaked.
The issue of the letter written by the prosecutor to
the SIT was brought up before the Bench by Solicitor General
Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting as amicus curiae in the
matter, on April 6.

The Bench was informed by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi,
who was appearing for Gujarat government, that a letter (by
state government) has been written to Subramanium asking him
how he came to know about the prosecutor`s letter to the SIT.

Rohatgi said the Centre knows about the letters written
by the prosecutors but the state government under which they
are working is unaware of such developments.

The court was informed during the earlier hearing that a
special public prosecutor engaged for the riot cases had
sought his withdrawal from the case after levelling certain
allegations against the SIT and the trial judge.

The bench disapproved of the action of the prosecutor and
made strong remarks against him. "We disapprove of the action
of the prosecutor. He is disregarding the judicial system,"
the bench said.

The bench said it was unhappy with the conduct of the
public prosecutor coming out of the court and speaking to the

"I am not happy that the public prosecutor comes out of
the court and gives interviews to the press. That is to show
that I am the best," Justice Jain said.

Referring to the Gujarat riot case in which the Special
Public Prosecutor has written a letter to the SIT for
withdrawing himself from the case, the bench said "we are
surprised by the action of the prosecutor. He is appointed
by the Chief Justice of the High Court."

"If every prosecutor starts behaving like this, what will
happen?" the bench said.

"I am very sorry. I am airing my views. This is a wrong
practice. This is a strange thing that is happening," Justice
Jain said.

The bench said such actions are not expected from public
prosecutors and it was a very unusual practice.

"Sending e-mails to somebody telling that I am not happy
with the judge is not correct", the bench said, adding that in
such case, the public prosecutor should rather quit.

The bench posted the matter for hearing on May 6 and
granted time to SIT to file its report by May 15.

Earlier, on April 19, the bench had expressed anger at
"behind-the-scene" activities in the riot cases and said if
the prosecutor has disclosed to the media about his letter to
the SIT he has no business to be the public prosecutor.

The Bench was informed that till now two public
prosecutors had written letters to the SIT casting
"aspersions" on the trial court judge and SIT.

Subramaniam had said he had learnt about the letters
written by prosecutors from media reports.

The apex court was hearing an application of an NGO,
Centre for Peace and Justice, seeking a stay of the trial of
10 cases monitored by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and
sought transfer of the probe to CBI.

The 10 cases being monitored by the SIT are--Gulberg
Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya,
Baranpura, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.


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