Give status rpt on Nanavati panel: Guj HC to Govt



Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court today asked the government to furnish status report on Nanavati Commission while hearing a petition seeking a direction for cross-examination of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and three others by the panel in connection with the 2002 riots.

A division bench of Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi adjourned the matter till June 25 after the government counsel sought time for collecting information from the Commission, whose tenure is to end on June 30.

The Commission probing the 2002 riots comprises retd Justice G T Nanavati and retd Justice Akshay Mehta.

The petition being heard was filed by Jan Sangarsh Manch (JSM), an NGO representing some of the post-Godhra riot victims.

The Nanavati Commission had told High Court during the last hearing in the matter on April 1, that its decision of September, 2009, of not summoning Modi was "not final".

Lawyer representing JSM, Mukul Sinha, had then requested the court that in case Nanavati Commission does not call Modi by June 17, then the Court could pass appropriate orders in this regard.

Modi has already been questioned in connection with 2002 riot, for over nine-hour by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on March 27 following a complaint by one of the victims.

Nanavati Commission, in September last year had disposed of JSM's plea asking for summoning of Modi, the then home minister Gordhan Zadafia, health minister Ashok Bhatt and DCP Zone 5, R J Savani, saying they did not find justification in cross-examining them at that point of time for the purpose stated by JSM.

The Commission had said in the order that allegation that Modi Government aided and abetted 2002 riots made in JSM's application were vague and based upon wrong or unwarranted assumptions.

JSM had sought quashing of the Nanavati Commission's order in the Gujarat High Court and prayed that Modi and the three others be called for cross examination with regard to the 2002 riots.

A single bench of Justice K S Jhaveri dismissed its petition in November 2009 saying that the Commission had not completed its inquiry and still had power to summon Modi under section 8(b) of Commissions of Inquiry Act.

Following this, JSM filed an appeal before a division bench where it sought quashing of Commission's order and issuance of summons to Modi and three others for cross examination with regard to the 2002 riots.

PTI